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Willmar absorbs first loss of season

BRAINERD -- Willmar shot poorly from the free-throw line and was tagged with its first loss of the season in girls basketball action Thursday night.

Brainerd got 14 points from Tess Rahto and 13 from Emily Thesing en route to a 50-47 Central Lakes Conference win over the Cardinals.

Willmar fell behind 32-25 at halftime, but took the lead early in the second half and kept it until the final 30 seconds.

A three-pointer by Marial Aamot triggered a Willmar spurt that led to a 44-37 lead with 7:30 left. Alex Lippert, taking over for Jena Thompson, sitting with four fouls, blocked two shots in the run, one leading to a layup by Hannah Smith.

But the Warriors (2-1, 2-2) turned up their defensive pressure. The offense began scoring off turn-overs and Brainerd went on to outscore the Cardinals 13-3 over the last seven minutes.

Thesing made a long three-pointer with 40 seconds left to make it a one-point game. Willmar (2-1, 3-1) still led 47-46 when Thesing stole the ball. Thompson blocked a Warriors' shot, but Rahto grabbed the loose ball and scored for a 48-47 lead.

Willmar had a 49-23 rebound edge, but was only 11 of 23 at the free-throw line. Kelsey Evans had 15 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. Smith added 15 points and seven rebounds from Thompson nine points and nine rebounds.

Brainerd 50, Willmar 47

Willmar 25 22 -- 47

Brainerd 32 18 -- 50

WILLMAR - 17-50 FG (2-16 3-pt); 11-23 FT; 49 rebounds; 17 fouls ... Scoring: Kelsey Evans 15, Mariel Aamot 3, Hannah Smith 14, Emily Nelsen 2, Hannah Lippert 4, Thompson 9 ... 3-point shots: Evans 1, Aamot 1 ... Rebound leaders: Evans 10, Thompson 9, Smith 7 ... Assist leaders: Evans 5, Smith 3 ... Steal leaders: Evans 6 ... Blocks: Lippert 3, Evans 2, Thompson 2

BRAINERD - 18-50 FG (3-8 3-pt); 11-17 FT; 23 rebounds; 18 fouls ... Scoring: Sara Parsons 3, Alex Sauer 4, Emilee Branum 4, Tess Rahto 14, Emily Thesing 13, Nicolette Graumann 3, K.B. Capers 9 ... 3-point shots: Thesing 3 ... Rebound leaders: Capers 8, Thesing 4 ... Assist leaders: n/a ... Steal leaders: Thesing 3, Branum 2, Capers 2

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