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Jay Hilbrands

MACCRAY getting healthy heading into post-season

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

MACCRAY has hit only one obstacle along its path they are hoping takes it to the state tournament. That was a bump in the road against Tracy-Milroy-Balaton when the Wolverines lost the inter-conference championship, 55-47 on Feb. 27.

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Even though Wolverines coach Gary Nelson made no excuses for the setback, the team was without two starters. Jay Hilbrands, the second leading scorer and the top rebounder, injured his ankle in the second half against Dawson-Boyd on Jan. 20, played two minutes four days later against Fairmont at the Target Center and then later he had broken a small bone close to his ankle. He has missed 14 games, but returned to practice again Thursday. Tyler Dammann, the team's point guard, played only six minutes against TMB and then missed the next game against Renville County West because of the flu. MACCRAY did beat TMB 64-50 on Feb. 3 with Dammann in the lineup, but without Hilbrands.

"Tyler has been back practicing with us again," said Nelson, whose team opens Section 3AA-North as the top seed today at home against Yellow Medicine East. Minnesota Valley Lutheran is the No. 2 seed, Montevideo is No. 3 and Redwood Valley No. 4. "(Against RCW) was the first time in my coaching career that when the officials asked for my captains (Hilbrands and Dammann), I couldn't produce them. Fortunately, I had two other seniors that served that role in Jordan Smith and Seth Sparks."

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