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Willmar knocked from lead

ST. CLOUD -- A 19-point lead in the second half would seem safe -- particularly when you're playing lights-out basketball.

But just when it looked like Willmar would cruise to its fifth straight Central Lakes Conference win, the wind shifted and St. Cloud Apollo overtook and sank the Cardinals 64-61 on Tuesday night.

Willmar started cold but went on a 21-4 run to end the first half with a 36-23 lead.

The surge continued in the second half as Willmar built the lead to 49-30.

But that's when Willmar's offensive engine shut down with about 10 minutes left. The Eagles, ranked No. 4 in Class AAA, outscored the visitors 34-12 the rest of the way.

"They turned up the pressure, half court and full court, and took us right out of our game," said Willmar coach Steve Grove.

Andre Garth, 6-4 forward, supercharged the Apollo awakening scoring 17 of his 21 points in the second half.

Willmar got a game-high 23 points from Taylor Filipek followed by Isaiah Streed and Jordan Smith with 10 each and Alec Saunders with eight. Brian Reeves led with eight rebounds.

"Credit Apollo with a great comeback," said Grove. "Maybe we thought we had it in the bag. We started looking over our shoulders. But the bottom line was our inability to make good decisions against their pressure."

Apollo (6-1, 9-3) was coming off a 94-83 loss to St. Cloud Tech. It was the first loss for No. 8 Willmar (4-1, 8-3) in conference play and ended a six-game win streak.

SC Apollo 64, Willmar 61

Willmar (4-1, 8-3) 36 25 -- 61

SC Apollo (6-1, 9-3) 23 41 -- 64

WILLMAR - 22-37 FG (5-15 3-pt); 12-17 FT; 21 rebounds; 19 fouls ... Scoring: Alec Saunders 8, James Neis 5, Jordan Smith 10, Isaiah Streed 10, Taylor Filipek 23, Brian Reeves 5 ... 3-point shots: T. Filipek 3, Smith 1, Neis 1 ... Rebound leaders: Reeves 8, Smith 5... Assist leaders: Saunders 2, T. Filipek 2, Streed 2 ... Steal leaders: Smith 3, Neis 3

ST. CLOUD APOLLO - 25-46 FG (4-13 3-pt); 10-12 FT; 28 rebounds;17 fouls ... Scoring: Shukri Ibrahim 12, Mike Frericks 8, Andre Garth 21, Abrahim Abukar 10, Blake Maslonkiowski 8, Tim Bergstraser 5 ... 3-point shots: Ibrahim 2, Abukar 2 ... Rebound leaders: not available