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Knockdown punch deflected

WILLMAR -- After 10 days idled by the schedule and weather, the Willmar Cardinals went back to work on Tuesday evening.

Nothing came easy, especially on offense, before they left the court with a 53-44 win over Central Lakes foe Fergus Falls.

"Give Fergus credit," said coach Brad Atchison. "They threw everything at us. They took away the passing lanes and were very aggressive defensively. It was a battle to beat a good basketball team."

The league-leaders might not have gotten their seventh win in the CLC and 10th overall without the standout performance by Kelsey Evans.

The senior guard scored 25 points, handed out five assists and made three steals. Several times she rebounded and went coast-to-coast for a lay-up.

"That may have been Kelsey's best all-around game," said Atchison. "She was driving to the basket which is what you must do against a team that is so aggressive on defense."

There was excellent support from Hannah Smith with 12 points and nine rebounds, Alex Lippert with 10 rebounds and eight blocks, Jena Thompson 11 rebounds and six points and Marial Aamot with five points.

"Lippert did a great job for us defensively," said Atchison.

She helped contain the Otters' 5-9 freshman center Mariah Monke, who finished with eight points.

Willmar (7-1, 6-5) went 15 -for-25 at the line to 3-for-5 for the Otters (5-3, 7-5).

Willmar 53, Fergus F. 44

Fergus Falls (5-3, 6-5) 20 24 -- 44

Willmar (7-1, 10-3) 25 28 -- 53

FERGUS FALLS - 20-51 FG (1-6 3-pt); 3-5 FT; 32 rebounds; 22 fouls ... Scoring: xx ... 3-point shots: Ramsey Vogt 4, Emily Olson 5, Nikki Clouse 4, Steph Olson 6, Chelsey Enderle 2, Ashley Heitzellman 4, Kylie Zenner 2, Whitney Moore 9, Mariah Monke 8 ... Rebound leaders: Enderle 9,Monke 8 ... Assist leaders: Moore 4 ... Steal leaders: Monke 4

WILLMAR - 19-48 FG (0-5 3-pt); 15-25 FT; 42 rebounds; 9 fouls ... Scoring: Hannah Smith 12, Kelsey Evans 25, Jena Thompson 6, Marial Aamot 5, Alex Lippert 3, Emily Nelsen 2 ... 3-point shots: none ... Rebound leaders: Thompson 11, Smith 9, Lippert 10 ... Assist leaders: Evans 5 ... Steal leaders: Evans 3.... Blocked shots: Lippert 8, Smith 2