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Girls Basketball: Willmar turns back Minnehaha for third place

Willmar's Shantel Kelly, center, drives for two first-half points against Rachel West, left, and Natalie Stevens of Minnehaha Academy Thursday at New London. (Tribune photo by Rand Middleton)1 / 2
Willmar's Sara Kallhoff drives against Gabbi Stienstra of Minnehaha Academy in the West Central Tribune WildCard third-place game Thursday in New London. (Tribune photo by Rand Middleton)2 / 2

NEW LONDON -- Shantel Kelly scored eight straight points to start the second half, igniting Willmar's comeback win over short-handed Minnehaha Academy 51-46 in the third-place game of the West Central Tribune WildCard tournament on Thursday.

Willmar finished 1-1 at the tournament after bowing to Bloomington Kennedy on Wednesday.

The Cardinals (3-3) trailed 27-21 after playing a sloppy first half.

"I knew we had to do something at half to get mentally prepared and get something done," said Kelly, a senior forward.

Sara Kallhoff, whose steal led to Kelly's first points in the mini-burst, said the team just wasn't functioning well to start.

"We weren't moving the ball around which is what we do best," said the senior guard.

After Kelly's putback of Kallhoff's steal and missed layup, Kelly made a layup after her own steal, then hit a three-pointer and later tacked on a free throw to give the Cardinals a 29-27 lead.

A basket by Kallhoff gave Willmar the lead for good at 33-31. A trey by Carrie Boike after an inlet and return by Anne Dunham in the high post made it 40-34. Kayli Gimse followed with consecutive scores for a 10-point lead, 44-34.

Kelly finished with a career-high 18 points to go along with eight rebounds. Gimse added 12 points and Boike eight.

Minnehaha Academy's Gabbi Stienstra finished with 25 points to lead all scorers. Minnehaha Academy head coach Josh Thurow was without 6-5 senior center Katelyn Adams, who returned home after Wednesday's game to be in her sister's wedding. The Hawks were also without their leading scorer, Sarina Baker (20 points-per-game), for both games of the tournament due to a family trip.

Willmar 51, Minnehaha Academy 46

Willmar (3-3) 21 30 -- 51

Minnehaha Academy (4-4) 27 19 -- 46

WILLMAR - 20-55 FG (3-9 3-pt); 8-13 FT; 30 rebounds; 23 fouls ... Scoring: Lindsey Atchison 2, Shantel Kelly 18, Sara Kallhoff 6, Carrie Boike 8, Megan Skalla 4, Kayli Gimse 12, Laura Swartz 1 ... 3-point shots: Boike 2, Kelly 1 ... Rebound leaders: Kelly 8, Gimse 5 ... Assist leaders: Kallhoff 4, Boike 3 ... Steal leaders: Kallhoff 3

MINNEHAHA ACADEMY - 14-44 FG (4-11 3-pt); 14-24 FT; 23 rebounds; 16 fouls ... Scoring: Cassie Davis 1, Jana Halstensgard 4, Gabbi Stienstra 25, Andrea Scharf 6, Nicole Nipper 6, Natalie Stevens 4... 3-point shots: Stienstra 4 ... Rebound leaders: Halstensgard 8, Nipper 6 ... Assist leaders: no leader ... Steal leaders: Scharf 6

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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