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Prep Basketball: Undefeated Cards rev up engines

Willmar's Hannah Johnson shoots a floater during Saturday's game against Bemidji at Willmar High School. Jake Schultz / Tribune1 / 5
Willmar's Cayle Hovland watches a 3-pointer drift to the basket in Saturday's game at Willmar High School against Bemidji. Jake Schultz / Tribune2 / 5
Willmar's Hannah Johnson cuts through a gap in the Bemidji defense during Saturday's game at Willmar High School. Jake Schultz / Tribune3 / 5
Willmar's Ashley Prahl takes a mid-range jumper in Saturday's game against Bemidji at Willmar High School. Jake Schultz / Tribune4 / 5
Willmar's Madi Linbo finishes a layup following a long outlet pass during Saturday's game against Bemidji at Willmar High School. Jake Schultz / Tribune5 / 5

WILLMAR — The bus carrying the Willmar girls basketball team may have broken down late on Friday night, but the Cardinals had their engines running right away on offense just hours later.

Hannah Johnson scored 15 points, Carly Wedel added 13 points and Willmar hit 10 3-pointers en route to a 74-61 win over Brainerd on Saturday at home.

With the win, the Cardinals improved to 6-0 for the first time since opening the 2009-10 season with 10 straight wins. Following a week that included three wins, a pair on the road against Central Lakes Conference opponents, Willmar is now off until the WildCard tournament on Dec. 27.

"It's nice to cap off a tough little stretch here against some good opponents," Cardinals head coach Dustin Carlson said. "Bemidji we knew would be a challenge with the way they can shoot the ball, so it was good to see the girls come out firing like they did."

With the team not returning to Willmar until 1:30 a.m. on Saturday morning after its bus broke down on the way back from a 64-58 win at Fergus Falls, Carlson was expecting a slower start on Saturday.

That turned out to be far from the reality.

In the first half, Willmar scored 1.11 points per possession and held Bemidji (2-5) to .59 PPP en route to jumping out to a 39-20 lead.

Madi Linbo scored eight of her 10 points and the Cardinals used a 10-0 run to take a 24-7 lead in the first nine minutes. Mackenzie Jones added a pair of triples, as well, with her second of the half giving Willmar its largest advantage of the game at 39-18.

"I had no clue how they were going to come out after a long, patience-testing night just a couple hours ago, really," Carlson said. "That was really nice to see."

The Lumberjacks were able to find the bottom of the net to open the second half, using a 14-5 run to cut the Cardinals lead to 44-34. But 3-pointers by Katelyn Murphy, Cayle Hovland and Jordyn Swoboda keyed an 11-2 answer from Willmar to reclaim a 19-point lead.

Wedel blocked a shot and hit a rhythm triple on the other end to extend the advantage to 21 points again at 60-39 with 7:42 to play.

Willmar shot 55.5 percent (10-for-18) from deep on the night and moved the ball well, assisting on 17 of its 26 made field goals.

Willmar 74, Bemidji 61

Bemidji (2-5) 20 41 — 61

Willmar (6-0) 39 35 — 74

BEMIDJI - Scoring: Katie Alto 10, Taylor Wade 5, Samantha Edlund 3, Allison Beard 5, Kennedy Mills 4, Macy Flatness 7 ... 3-point shots: Alto 2, Wade 1, Edlund 1, Beard 1, Mills 1, Flatness 1 ... Rebound leader: NA ... Assist leader: NA ... Steal leader: NA

WILLMAR - Scoring: Abby Berskow 7, Mackenzie Jones 8, Katelyn Murphy 7, Sadie Raitz 2, Jordyn Swoboda 7, Madi Linbo 10, Hannah Johnson 15, Cayle Hovland 6, Carly Wedel 13 ... 3-point shots: Berskow 1, Jones 2, Murphy 2, Swoboda 1, Linbo 1, Johnson 1, Hovland 1, Wedel 1 ... Rebound leader: Wedel 6, Hovland 5, Johnson 4 ... Assist leader: Johnson 5, Berskow 3, Johnson 4, Berskow 2, Murphy 2 ... Steal leader: Hovland 4

Litchfield 36, HLWW 24

Litchfield's defense seemed impenetrable Saturday as the Dragons held Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted to just 24 points.

The Dragons surpassed that number in the first half, taking a 25-10 lead into the break. HLWW proved its defensively ability in the second half, outscoring the Dragons 14-11.

The Dragons' Katelyn Cruze had team-highs with eight points and seven rebounds. Laney Huhner and Sydney McCann both scored six points.

HLWW (2-5) 10 14 — 24

Litchfield (4-2) 25 11 — 36

HOWARD LAKE-WAVERLY-WINSTED - Scoring: Jenna Benson 2, CJ Decker 7, Alexa Schumann 9, Bethany Groos 2, Courtney Long 4 ... 3-point shots: NA ... Rebound leader: NA ... Assist leader: NA ... Steal leader: NA

LITCHFIELD - Scoring: Janessa Olson 2, Khilah Miller 4, Laney Huhner 6, Kamri Driver 3, Natalie Hansen 3, Maddy Shoultz 2, Sydney McCann 6, Neriah Lara 2, Katelyn Cruze 8 ... 3-point shots: NA ... Rebound leader: Cruze 7, Shoultz 6 ... Assist leader: NA ... Steal leader: Huhner 5, Hansen 4

Boys Basketball

Willmar 61, Big Lake 45

A slow first half led to a powerful second as Willmar ran away with a win against Big Lake Saturday afternoon.

Noah Slagter scored 22 of his 24 points in the second half, including five 3-pointers. He finished with a double-double after securing 10 rebounds, while teammate Drey Dirksen scored 13 points with 17 rebounds for a double-double of his own.

Big Lake's Logan Nagorski gave the Cardinal defense fits, scoring 24 points, but Willmar was able to keep the rest of the Hornets quiet to hang on for the win.

Willmar (5-0) 20 41 — 61

Big Lake (0-4) 16 29 — 45

WILLMAR - Scoring: Noah Slagter 24, Drey Dirksen 13, Jake Evans 7, Ty Roelofs 4, Ryan Slette 4, Noah Getz 3, Peyton Fischer 2, Donald Jurek 2, Cameron Murphy 2 ... 3-point shots: Slagter 5, Dirksen 2, Evans 1 ... Rebound leader: Dirksen 17, Slagter 10 ... Assist leader: Getz 4 ... Steal leader: Slagter 2

BIG LAKE - Scoring: Logan Nagorski 24, Drew Rudlong 6, Spencer Hinrichs 5, Jake Ireland 4, DeVonne Harris 4, name not available 2 ... 3-point shots: Nagorski 3, Hinrichs 1 ... Rebound leader: Rudlong 5, Harris 7 ... Assist leader: Nagorski 2 ... Steal leader: Rudlong 3

Breckenridge 88, Benson 36

Breckenridge jumped out to a 59-19 lead after one half and cruised to victory against Benson at the Case IH tournament Saturday.

Noah Christensen led all scorers with 24 points and Benson's Austin Ose scored 13, in part thanks to a trio of 3-pointers.

Breckenridge (4-2) 59 29 — 88

Benson (0-3) 19 17 — 36

BRECKENRIDGE - Scoring: Andrew Kram 4, Noah Christenson 21, Mitch Porter 4, EJ Engen 8, Max Johnson 13, Derek Dahlgren 14, Sam Bakken 5, Jace LeNoue 9, Justin Marsh 4, Jacob Marsh 6 ... 3-point shots: Johnson 1, Dahlgren 3, Bakken 1, LeNoue 1, Jacob Marsh 2 ... Rebound leader: Christenson 6, Kram 4 ... Assist leader: Kram 1 ... Steal leader: Johnson 2

BENSON - Scoring: Austin Ose 13, Eric Hoium 2, Matt Connolly 2, Sam Lundebrek 9, Riley Grube 2, Jonas Habben 7, Kaden Schmidt 1 ... 3-point shots: Ose 3 ... Rebound leader: Lundebrek 4, Will Enderson 3, Connolly 3 ... Assist leader: Ose 1, Goossen 1, Gonnerman 1 ... Steal leader: Ose 1, Goossen 1, Hoium 1, Schmidt 1

ACGC 81, MACCRAY 59

ACGC prevailed over the Wolverines in a game at the Case IH tournament in Benson on Saturday.

MACCRAY's Thomas Kirking scored 18 points and Braden Hoekstra had 13 points. Brady Kienitz had four points, three assists and five steals.

ACGC (2-3) 81

MACCRAY (1-5) 59

ACGC - Stats not provided

MACCRAY - Scoring: Blake Wadsworth 9, Brady Kienitz 4, Kelby Jaenisch 2, Brett Harguth 2, Braden Hoekstra 13, Jakob Zuidema 5, Kelvin Miles 4, Trent Cavaness 2, Thomas Kirking 18 ... 3-point shots: Kienitz 1, Hoekstra 1, Zuidema 1, Kirking 2 ... Rebound leader: Miles 9, Harguth 4, Hoekstra 4 ... Assist leader: Kienitz 3 ... Steal leader: Kienitz 5, Zuidema 4

Morris/CA 57, LQPV 31

Morris/Chokio-Alberta's defense allowed just nine second-half points in the Tigers' win over Lac qui Parle Valley on Saturday at LQPV High School.

MCA's Camden Arndt scored a game-high 15 points and he also had eight rebounds and six assists.

The Tigers' Jaret Johnson finished with 14 points and six boards, and Jackson Loge added 10 points and five rebounds.

LQPV's Ross Olson and Austin Bonn both scored eight points and Olson had six rebounds. Braiden Kittelson had six points and five assists.

Morris/CA (2-2) 29 28 — 57

LQPV (4-3) 22 9 — 31

MORRIS/CHOKIO-ALBERTA - Scoring: Tyler Riemers 3, Kyle Staebler 2, Camden Arndt 15, Connor Koebernick 8, Jackson Loge 10, Tate Nelson 3, Kevin Asfeld 2, Jaret Johnson 14 ... 3-point shots: Johnson 2, Riemers 1, Loge 1, Nelson 1, Koebernick 1 ... Rebound leader: Arndt 8, Johnson 6, Loge 5 ... Assist leader: Arndt 6, Koebernick 4 ... Steal leader: Nelson 3, Koebernick 3

LAC QUI PARLE VALLEY - Scoring: Austin Bonn 8, Caden Bjornjeld 2, Isaac Gerdes 2, Evan Benson 1, Ross Olson 8, Braiden Kittelson 6, Thomas Daniels 2, Maverick Conn 2 ... 3-point shots: Kittelson 2, Bonn 1 ... Rebound leader: Olson 6 ... Assist leader: Kittelson 5 ... Steal leader: Bjornjeld 2

Curt Hogg

Curt Hogg is a sports reporter at the West Central Tribune in Willmar, Minnesota. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2016. 

(320) 214-4332
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