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Willmar boys beat back West in final seconds to reach 2AAA final

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

WILLMAR - The Willmar Cardinals are in the 2AAA championship game at 7 p.m. Thursday in Mankato against Hutchinson - barely.

A jump shot by a well-guarded Sam Esboldt overcame the Scarlets 43-42 on Saturday evening before the largest crowd of the year in the Willmar gym. Willmar had squandered a 12-point lead with just under nine minutes left to fall behind the No. 3 seed 42-39 with under two minutes left.


Esboldt scored after losing the ball and regaining possession on a save by Sam Spaulding. His game-winner from about 16 feet came with seconds left. West got a time out at 1.6 seconds but a half-court shot by Preston Brunz, who had 20 points, was short.

No. 2 seed Willmar (19-9) got 16 points from Taylor Filipek, 13 by Esboldt and eight from Jimmy Unger.

Willmar and Hutchinson (24-3) will be meeting for the first time this season.

West Central Tribune (320) 235-6769 customer support

Covers Willmar and area high schools and Ridgewater College, plus amateur baseball, stock car racing and fitness events in summer. Writes weekly column since 1980. Began working in radio and at weekly newspaper in Munising, Michigan, in 1972. Started parttime at West Central Daily Tribune Sept. 1974. Fulltime beginning Feb. 1979. Married to Tribune news clerk Donna (Miller) Middleton, formerly of Kerkhoven. 2 grown children. 

(320) 214-4334