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Girls Basketball: Cards take a spill

Minnehaha Academy’s Sarah Kaminski pulls up in the lane defended by Heather Horning, left, and Courtney Magnuson. Tribune photo by Rand Middleton.

NEW LONDON — The Redhawks made it look easy.

They sprang to a 16-2 lead and were never challenged.

Willmar had as many turnovers as points by halftime.

Even though they came in undefeated, Minnehaha Academy was a better team than most expected.

“We’re off to a faster start than we expected,” said the Redhawks coach Josh Thurow, now in his ninth-year at the St. Paul school.

 Only one full-time starter returned. Senior forwardNicole Nipper came into the game carrying a 26 ppg average but scored just 10 points in the Wildcats’ gym.

Notorious for her laser 3-point shots, she couldn’t get the range down last night but the law of averages suggests she will be closer to the target tonight when the Redhawks play the Cats for the title.

“We’re excited to play NLS,” said Thurow. “We’re willing to play fast paced and so are they.”

Willmar (5-4) just ran into a team with too much of everything, including a fearsome 1-3-1 press-and-trap.

“When we did break the press we couldn’t figure how to get the ball in the hoop,” said Willmar coach Dustin Carlson. “Even our layups wouldn’t go in and when you get so far behind the girls get a little frustrated.”

Willmar had no answer for 6-foot-2 senior forward Maddie Johnson nor for 6-3 Lily Grothe off the bench.

The Hawks got plenty of second and third chances while Willmar has virtually none at all.

It likely would not have turned the tide but Willmar was suddenly without two starters when Jordan Martins got mono and McKenzie Hastad came up with a knee injury.

Nine players scored for Minnehaha led by Johnson with 12 and Sarah Kaminski and Nicole Nipper 10 each.

Willmar senior Heather Horning led all scorers with 15 points, making 4 of 8 three-point shots. Anne Dunham had 12 rebounds but would score only five points. Sophomore Courtney Magnuson got all 10 of her points in the first half, 6 coming on drive down the lane.

The Cardinals, who play Heritage Christian at 6 p.m., had 34 turnovers compared to 8 by the Redhawks.

Minnehaha Academy 67, Willmar 40

Minnehaha (7-0)    34  33  — 67

Willmar (5-4)    16  24  — 40

MINNEHAHA ACADEMY – 27-79 FG (4-19 3-pt); 9-16 FT; 42 rebounds; 14 fouls … Scoring: Chloe Gunderson 8, Angela Scharf 2. Olivia West 6, Gracia Gilreath 4, Lily Grothe 4, Sarah Kaminski 10, Anna Scholl 4, Nicole Nipper 10, Rachel Warren 7, Maddie Johnson 12 … 3-point shots: Kaminski 2, Warren 2 … Rebound leaders: Johnson 10, Grothe 4, Gunderson 4 … Assist leaders: Kaminski 4, Gunderson 5 … Steal leaders: Kaminski 3, Nipper 3 … Blocked shots: Kaminski 2

WILLMAR – 15-44 FG (5-15 3-pt); 5-10 FT; 36 rebounds; 10 fouls … Scoring: Courtney Magnuson 10, Megan Rudnick 2, Kassy Linbo 3, Heather Horning 15, Anne Dunham 5, Kalley Fosso 3, Ally Roehl 2 … 3-point shots: Horning 4-8, Fosso 1-2 … Rebound leaders: Dunham 12, Horning 7, Fosso 4 … Assist leaders: Linbo 2 … Steal leaders: Roehl 3

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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