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Willmar shoots blistering 75 percent in Central Lakes rout of Fergus Falls

Willmar's Jake Damhof, left, and Brian Reeves (31) defend a drive by Zach Rengel (35) of Fergus Falls in the first half of a Central Lakes basketball opener at Willmar on Tuesday. Tribune photo by Rand Middleton

WILLMAR -- If you like a lot of offense, the Willmar High School gymnasium was the place to be on a cold night in December.

Both Willmar and Fergus Falls had hot hands as the host team rolled to a 91-77 win the Central Lakes Conference boys basketball opener on Tuesday.

Leading Willmar to its third win of the new season were Taylor Filipek with 25 points, Sam Esboldt with 21 and Brian Reeves at 20.

Fergus kept it close, including 48-43 at intermission, with uncanny accuracy from the three-point arc.

The Otters hit 12-of-23 three-point attemps. Darin Stanislawski, a 6-foot-4 senior listed as a post, stepped outside to sink a half-dozen three-pointers on the way to finishing with a game-high 26 points.

"Boy, I've never seen a team shoot like that," marveled Willmar coach Steve Grove. "Of course, we shot pretty well, too."

Unofficially, the Cardinals were 34-of-45 on field-goal shots, but Grove said he was going to review the tape for statistical accuracy.

Filipek had a breakaway dunk in the first half to ignite the crowd. He also made a three in the second half.

Reeves came off the bench for his first action of the season. He hit eight field goals and also had a game-high eight rebounds.

Nine players scored for Willmar, which was 16 of 23 at the line.

Junior Jake Rambow and senior Sam Spaulding each had season-high games of seven points.

The Otters (1-1 overall) got 14 points each from Spencer Kidder and Zach Rengel.

Willmar led early by 10 points but Fergus rallied for a one-point lead in the opening half. Willmar responded with a run of their own to end the half with five-point bulge.

Willmar 91, Ferg. Falls 77

Fergus Falls (0-1, 1-1) 43 34 -- 77

Willmar (1-0, 3-0) 48 43 -- 91

FERGUS FALLS - 27-56 FG (12-23 3-pt); 11-15 FT; 17 rebounds; 20 fouls ... Scoring: Spencer Kidder 14, Darin Stanislawski 26, Mike Millard 4, Conor Swenson 8, Shane Westerberg 3, Will rader 8, Zach Rengel 14 ... 3-point shots: Kidder 2, Stanislawski 6, Swenson 2, Rengel 2 ... Rebound leaders: not available

WILLMAR - 34-45 FG (7-13 3-pt); 16-23 FT; 23 rebounds; 17 fouls ... Scoring: Mark Dunham 3, Nate Esboldt 2, Jake Rambow 7, Andrew Bangen 4, Brian Reeves 20, Sam Esboldt 21, Sam Spaulding 7, Taylor Filipek 25, Jake Damhof 2 ... 3-point shots: Dunham 1, S. Esboldt 3, Spaulding 2, Filipek 1 ... Rebound leaders: Reeves 8, Spaulding 4, Filipek 6... Assist leaders: Bangen 3, Rambow 2, Filipek 2 ... Steal leaders: Bangen 2 ... Blocked shots: Jimmy Unger 2, Reeves 2, Filipek 2

Rand Middleton
Tribune photographer/videographer. Began working in radio and at weekly newspaper in Munising, Michigan, in 1972. Started parttime at West Central Daily Tribune Sept. 1974. Fulltime news/sports beginning Feb. 1979. Married to Tribune news clerk Donna (Miller) Middleton, formerly of Kerkhoven. 2 grown children. 
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