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Boys basketball: Apollo surges past Cardinals

ST. CLOUD — Typical of their roller-coaster season, the Willmar Cardinals waxed hot and cold on Friday night at St. Cloud Apollo High School.

Like a swinging door the Cardinals went from assembling a 16-2 run for a double-digit lead to allowing the Eagles a 16-0 burst to take the lead for good in the second half.

Willmar fell behind by nine late in the game, rallied back but fell by three, 58-55, ending a three-game win streak.

The Apollo surge began late in the first half, which ended 33-29 Willmar up, and continued into the second half and didn’t end until the Eagles were up 39-33.

 “That was the difference,” said Willmar coach Steve Grove. “We didn’t shoot well from the field or the line. We had a chance at the end but they extended their defense.”

Willmar has had similar cold snaps this season: Super-heated shooting, often from long range, followed by a freeze up when nothing falls.

Shooting forward Kyler Johnson led Willmar with 15 points.

Point guard Joe Leuze got all 12 of his points on the bonus shot from the arc. Austin Rambow contributed 12 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists.

The Cardinals couldn’t contain Brett Maslonkowski. He was especially devastating during the Eagles’ comeback. He finished with 22 points, two less than the 24 he scored at Willmar where Apollo won Dec. 11 by four points.

Willmar didn’t help their cause at the free throw line making 9 of 19 (47 percent) while the Eagles sank 9 of 12 (75 percent).  

Next week Willmar is at Rocori and then back home Saturday to play Montevideo.

SC Apollo 58, Willmar 55

Willmar (4-5 8-8)    33  22 — 55

St. Cloud Apollo (6-2 9-7)    29  29 — 58

WILLMAR – 18-52 FG (10-24 3-pt); 9-19 FT; 25 rebounds; 14 fouls … Scoring: Joe Leuze 12, Jordan Geurtz 2, Sean Zuidema 1, Dylan Schueler 6, Cody Magnuson 3, Kyler Johnson 15, Austin Rambow 12, Alex Grove 4 … 3-point shots: Leuze 4, Schueler 2, Magnuson 1, Johnson 2, Rambow 1 … Rebound leaders: Rambow 9 … Assist leaders: Rambow 4 … Steal leaders: none

ST. CLOUD APOLLO – 21-55 FG (7-19 3-pt); 9-12 FT; 29 rebounds; 16 fouls … Scoring: Isaac Rakke 6, Noah Teigen 6, Grant Trokey 9, Brett Maslonkowski 22, Ethan Novacinski 9, Trevor Tesch 6 … 3-point shots: Rakke 1, Teigan 2, Trokey 3, Maslonkowski 1