Willmar gets outright CLC title with rout
WILLMAR -- Conference title -- free and clear.
The Willmar Cardinals rocked Rocori 72-38 to collect the Central Lakes title outright on a snowy Friday evening that was also Parents' night.
It's Willmar's fourth title outright and eighth overall in the league's 32-year history.
Willmar (16-1, 20-3) had already assured itself a piece of the pie after beating St. Cloud Apollo on Tuesday.
"We talked about this last summer," said Willmar coach Brad Atchison. "These kids are very determined. They wanted to make a serious run. The CLC was senior-laden last year, so we knew we had a good shot."
There was little chance Rocori could block the path to Willmar staking its claim. This hasn't been a typical year for the Spartans, who have won just two games and don't have a lot of height or quickness.
Guard Mariel Aamot drove for the first of her eight points to launch a 10-2 Cardinal run to start. At the end of the half, quick passes set up consecutive uncontested buckets in the paint by Kelsey Evans, Jena Thompson and Hannah Murphy.
By the 10-minute mark of the second half, Atchison was reaching down Willmar's long bench. Eventually 11 players would score.
Thompson and Evans got 12 points apiece, Hannah Smith, Murphy and Aamot eight each, Alex Lippert seven and Kayli Gimse six.
Leading the Spartans, who play a strong Bemidji tonight, were Jordan Hansen with 12 and Courtney Bernard with nine.
Willmar ends its regular season at Fergus Falls on Thursday.
Willmar 72, Rocori 38
Rocori (1-15, 2-20) 20 18 -- 38
Willmar (16-1, 20-3) 36 36 -- 72
ROCORI - 10-26 FG (3-6 3-pt); 9-18 FT; 18 rebounds; 16 fouls ... Scoring: April Cervantez 2, Jordan Hansen 12, Sarah Aaseth 1, Krystal Jelen 7, Ariana Heying 3, Kairsten Nelson 2, Jessica Heinen 2, Courtney Bernard 9 ... 3-point shots: Hansen 1, Jelen 1, Bernard 1 ... Rebound leaders: Bernard 4, Aaseth 6 ... Assist leaders: no leader... Steal leaders: Aaseth 2
WILLMAR - 26-43 FG (4-7 3-pt); 16-24 FT; 25 rebounds; 15 fouls ... Scoring: Laura Dunlavy 2, Kelsey Evans 12, Mariel Aamot 8, Lesley Christianson 2, Hannah Smith 8, Hannah Murphy 8, Jen Knake 3, Alex Lippert 7, Kayli Gimse 6, Jena Thompson 12, Shantel Kelly 2 ... 3-point shots: Smith 1, Evans 1, Murphy 2 ... Rebound leaders: Thompson 8, Evans 5 ... Assist leaders: Thompson 5, Emily Nelsen 4 ... Steal leaders: Evans 5, Thompson 4