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Curtain closes on Willmar's regular season

Willmar's Hannah Smith, front, and Jena Thompson, back, defend the lane as Makayla Jorgensen, left, of Little Falls looks to dish off to teammate Whitney Weisz in a Central Lakes Conference game Thursday at Willmar. Tribune photo by Rand Middleton1 / 2
Willmar's Jen Knake, left, passes to the low post over Alyssa Spillum of Little Falls during the first half at Willmar on Thursday. Tribune photo by Rand Middleton2 / 2

WILLMAR -- In a final tune-up before the playoffs, Willmar knocked down nine 3-pointers en route to a 74-50 Central Lakes Conference girls basketball win over Little Falls on Thursday.

"We shot really well from the perimeter," said Willmar coach Brad Atchison. "Mariel (Aamot) really shot well tonight. She's been shooting well in practice lately. Hannah Smith has been knocking some down and when teams look to shut her down, Mariel is getting some open looks and has been knocking them down."

Willmar received a first-round bye for the Section 2AAA playoffs after receiving the No. 1 seed. The Cardinals will host the winner of Tuesday's Hutchinson vs. New Ulm game March 6.

Smith led the Cardinals with 18 points, including a pair of three-pointers in their final regular-season game. Aamot finished with 15 points, three assists and three steals. Kayli Gimse added 11 points and eight rebounds and Jena Thompson notched 10 points, four assists and three steals.

Willmar, which led 39-29 at halftime, made 9-of-16 three points on the night. The Cardinals finished in a tie for second place in the Central Lakes Conference with Sartell, one game behind Alexandria.

Paige Beseman paced the Flyers (6-12, 8-17) with 20 points and Whitney Weisz added 18 points.

Willmar 74, Little Falls 50

Little Falls (6-12, 8-17) 29 21 -- 50

Willmar (15-3, 21-4) 39 35 -- 74

LITTLE FALLS - 18-50 FG (2-10 3-pt); 12-19 FT; 23 rebounds; 19 fouls ... Scoring: Kaitlyn Emerson 2, Alyssa Spillum 1, Paige Beseman 20, Whitney Weisz 18, Amanda Welle 2, Jessica Hanowski 2, Courtney Messinger 3, Alayna Kabanuk 2 ... 3-point shots: Beseman 2 ... Rebound leader: Weisz 6 ... Assist leaders: Megan Voss 2 ... Steal leader: Hanowski 3

WILLMAR - 27-67 FG (9-16 3-pt); 11-20 FT; 40 rebounds; 17 fouls ... Scoring: Aamot 15, Smith 18, Addy Nelsen 2, Shantel Kelly 3, Sara Kallhoff 4, Carrie Boike 7, Kayli Gimse 11, Alex Lippert 4, Jena Thompson 10 ... 3-point shots: Aamot 3, Smith 2, Kelly 1, Kallhoff 1, Boike 2 ... Rebound leaders: Lippert 10, Gimse 8 ... Assist leaders: Thompson 4, Kallhoff 3, Lippert 3, Aamot 3 ... Steal leaders: Aamot 3, Thompson 3, Kallhoff 3 ... Blocks: Lippert 5