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Boys basketball: Cardinals rally past Tigers

Tribune photo by Tom Larson Willmar’s Joel Carter, left, looks for a passing outlet while being hounded by Marshall’s Austin Saugstad during the second half of a non-conference game on Tuesday at Willmar High School. The Cardinals defeated the Tigers 58-47.

WILLMAR — The Willmar boys basketball team first made a spirited comeback early in the game against a strong Marshall team and, once back in the game, the Cardinals took control of it, holding off a Tigers’ late-game rally and winning 58-47 on Tuesday at Willmar High School.

“We made some shots when we needed to,” said Willmar head coach Steve Grove. “We got down early but the kids just played with more intensity. We withstood (Marshall’s) early run and when we got the lead we hit shots when they made their run.”

The Cardinals improved to 6-7 overall while Marshall lost for the first time since Dec. 8.

The Tigers entered the game 11-1 and won 11 straight after losing by three points to Fairmont to open the season. They showed that their record was legitimate, taking a 14-2 lead early in the first half.

But Willmar chipped away at the margin and overtook the Tigers late in the first half. The Cardinals led by five at halftime, inched it up to 12 points midway through the second half and bumped it 14 points with seven minutes to play.

Marshall carved points off the lead itself in the final five minutes, shaving Willmar’s lead to eight points. But Kyler Johnson answered with one of his four 3-pointers and the Cardinals were comfortably back in front.

Johnson led the Cardinals with 21 points and Austin Rambow had 10 points and a team-high 7 rebounds. Jordan Geurtz also scored 10 points and he also had 3 steals.

Marshall’s Hunter Peterson scored 20 points and Austin Saugstad finished with 11.

“At the end, (Marshall) missed some shots and we were able to get the rebounds,” Grove said. “It was a nice win for the team against a good opponent.”

The Cardinals play next at Alexandria at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, then are back home to take on St. Cloud Tech at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

Willmar 58, Marshall 47

Marshall (11-2)    21 26 — 47

Willmar (6-7)    26 32 — 58

MARSHALL – 16-53 FG (3-14 3-pt); 12-15 FT; 32 rebounds; 11 fouls … Scoring: Aaron Mathiowetz 7, Hunter Peterson 20, Austin Saugstad 11, Derek Buysse 2, Riley Sharbono 4, Tanner Bukowski 3 … 3-point shots: Peterson 2, Saugstad 1 … Rebound leaders: NA … Assist leaders: NA … Steal leaders: NA

WILLMAR – 23-53 FG (6-18 3-pt); 6-8 FT; 29 rebounds; 13 fouls … Scoring: Joe Leuze 2, Joel Carter 2, Jordan Geurtz 10, Sean Zuidema 1, Dylan Schueler 3, Cody Magnuson 5, Kyler Johnson 21, Austin Rambow 10, Alex Grove 4 … 3-point shots: Johnson 4, Magnuson 1, Schueler 1 … Rebound leaders: Rambow 7, Zuidema 6 … Assist leaders: Leuze 5, Grove 3 … Steal leaders: Geurtz 3, Johnson 2, Leuze 2

Tom Larson

Tom Larson is the sports editor of the West Central Tribune.

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