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Joe Brown, Marshall Independent Willmar's Megan Skalla, left, looks for a pass as Marshall's Kenzie Beekman and another defender close in on the trap during the first round of the Section 2AAA playoffs Tuesday at Marshall High School.

Girls basketball: Marshall eliminates Cardinals

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sports Willmar, 56201
Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

MARSHALL -- After 35 seasons of coaching, Willmar head coach Brad Atchison's run ended with a 60-49 loss to Marshall on Tuesday in the Section 2AAA quarterfinals.

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Willmar finished the season at 12-14 overall while Marshall will advance to play No. 1 Hutchinson in the semifinals Saturday.

The Cardinals came out of the gate strong. After going up 5-3 to start the game, Willmar went on a 12-0 run, including threes by Anne Dunham and Heather Horning.

They led 15-5 when Marshall took a timeout with 11 minutes to go in the half. The timeout did its job, as the Tigers outscored Willmar 24-3 for the rest of the half to take a 29-18 lead.

That would turn out to be the difference in the game.

The Cardinals matched Marshall with 31 points apiece in the second half but couldn't erase the early deficit, never getting closer than nine points behind.

"I think tonight was indicative of the way we played all year," Atchison said. "Really, really hard on defense and not enough offensive weapons. We had good shots, they just wouldn't go. Against a team like Marshall you've got to do more than play hard."

Laura Swartz led the Cardinals with 11 points.

Heather Horning had 10 points and sank two 3-pointers, and Anne Dunham added 5 points and 5 rebounds.

Willmar shot 30 percent from the field while Marshall sank 38 percent of its shots, and Marshall outrebounded the Cardinals 43-32.

Hannah Bennett paced the Tigers with 17 points, followed by Kelsey Saugstad with 13 and Kelli VanLeeuwe with 10.

Atchison finished his career with a 589-249 record, including stints at Clara City (1977-'85), Midwest Minnesota ('85-'89), MACCRAY ('89-'95) and Willmar ('95-'12).

"It's been a wonderful ride, a wonderful journey," he said. "I hate to see this season end."

It was also the final game for seniors Swartz, Lindsey Atchison, Casey Marcus, Addy Nelsen, Megan Skalla, Katie Lippert and Sarah Roehl.

Marshall 60, Willmar 49

Willmar (12-14) 18 31 -- 49

Marshall (21-6) 29 31 -- 60

WILLMAR - 20-65 FG (7-21 3-pt); 2-4 FT; 32 rebounds; 15 fouls ... Scoring: Lindsey Atchison 5, Casey Marcus 3, Addy Nelsen 7, Heather Horning 10, Anne Dunham 5, Megan Skalla 4, Laura Swartz 11, Katie Lippert 4 ... 3-point shots: Atchison 1, Marcus 1, Nelsen 1, Horning 2, Dunham 1, Swartz 1 ... Rebound leaders: Dunham 5 ... Assist leaders: Atchison 4 ... Steal leaders: none

MARSHALL - 21-55 FG (4-11 3-pt); 14-20 FT; 43 rebounds; 9 fouls ... Scoring: Morgan Saugstad 2, Kelsey Saugstad 13, Kenzie Beekman 9, Hannah Bennett 17, Kelli VanLeeuwe 10, Jessica Baker 3, Sarah Buysse 2, Callie Graff 1, Sarah Andersen 1, Sydney Griffin 2 ... 3-point shots: Bennett 4 ... Rebound leaders: Beekman 9 ... Assist leaders: Kelsey Saugstad 4 ... Steal leaders: Beekman 4

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