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National Guard soldiers returning to Willmar on Saturday after 10-month deployment

Willmar stunned by Otters

FERGUS FALLS -- The Otters were hungry for a win.

Entering the game with Willmar winless in the Central Lakes Conference, Fergus Falls overcame Willmar's 13 three-pointers with solid free-throw shooting en route to collecting an 84-76 win Friday in boys basketball.

It took 10 league games for the Otters to collect their first win in CLC play. It was also the first win in exactly a month for Fergus Falls (3-12).

Willmar (6-4, 12-5) established control early, but foul trouble caught up with the Cardinals and they eventually fell behind by 20 in the second half after scoring the game's first seven points.

"We just got outhustled in every aspect up to that point," said Willmar coach Steve Grove. "We were settling for jump shots and we didn't show any intensity on either side (of the ball). Fergus Falls was just hungrier for the win."

Taylor Filipek netted a game-high 28 points for Willmar and also hooked 14 rebounds. His four 3-pointers -- Sam Esboldt also made four treys -- helped the Cardinals get within striking distance in the game's closing moments, but the Otters would seal the win with their free-throw shooting. Fergus Falls was 22-for-31 from the line for the game.

Esboldt finished with 14 points and Jake Rambow added 11 points for the Cardinals.

The Cardinals beat Fergus Falls 91-77 on Dec. 15 in team's first meeting of the season.

Willmar, which finished 5-5 in January, is at CLC rival Sauk Rapids on Thursday.

Fergus Falls 84, Willmar 76

Willmar (6-4, 12-5) 29 47 -- 76

Fergus Falls (1-9, 3-12) 37 47 -- 84

WILLMAR - 26-68 FG (13-31 3-pt); 11-14 FT; 26 rebounds; 25 fouls ... Scoring: Mark Dunham 3, Jimmy Unger 4, Jake Rambow 11, Brian Reeves 8, Sam Esboldt 14, Taylor Filipek 28, Jake Damhof 8 ... 3-point shots: Dunham 1, Unger 1, Rambow 3, Esboldt 4, Filipek 4 ... Rebound leaders: Filipek 14 ... Assist leaders: Filipek 3 ... Steal leaders: none

FERGUS FALLS - 28-61 FG (6-12 3-pt); 22-31 FT; 31 rebounds; 17 fouls ... Scoring: Spencer Kidder 20, Darin Stanislawski 16, Nick Risbrudt 8, Mike Millard 14, Will Rader 7, Luke Heck 5, Zach Rengel 14 ... 3-point shots: Kidder 4, Stanislawski 2 ... Rebound, assist and steal leaders not available

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