WILLMAR — The Willmar boys basketball team is certainly making head coach Matt Williams' nice list this holiday season. And he doesn't even have to check it twice to make sure.
Noah Slagter scored 19 points and the No. 9 Cardinals exploded for a 101-74 win over St. Cloud Apollo on Thursday night to improve to 7-0.
The bow on top of the present Willmar delivered to the crowded gym at Willmar Senior High? It was the Cardinals' first 100-point effort since Dec. 7, 2000 in a 102-45 win over New Ulm.
One of Willmar's most dangerous components this year, the scoring distribution was dispersed just about as evenly as possible. Nine different Cardinals scored and each one contributed at least nine points.
Ty Roelofs followed Slagter's 19 points with 14 of his own. Ryan Slette added 11 points, and Drey Dirksen, Cameron Murphy and Adam Roux each scored 10 points to round of Willmar's double-digit scorers.
Willmar entered the break with a 44-28 lead before keeping the foot on the gas pedal for 57 second-half points. Once again, the Cardinals' ability to apply full-court pressure and play at frenetic pace with a deep bench worked in their favor in outscoring Apollo by 11 over the final 18 minutes to put the game away.
The Cardinals remain a half-game behind Brainerd in the Central Lakes Conference standings but have a game in hand at 3-0 to the Warriors' 4-0.
Willmar 101, SC Apollo 74
SC Apollo (2-5) 28 46 — 74
Willmar (7-0) 44 57 — 101
ST. CLOUD APOLLO - Scoring: Renell Edwards 18, Michael Gravelle 13, Logan Johnson 12, Marquise Smith 11, Elijah Edwards 8, Chang Hoth 6, Kyle Ripplinger 3, Jayden Lister 2, Deng Diew 1 ... 3-point shots: R. Edwards 1, Grevelle 1, Johnson 2, E. Edwards 2, Hoth 2 ... Rebound leader: R. Edwards 6, Smith 5 ... Assist leader: Gravelle 4 ... Steal leader: Gravelle 2
WILLMAR - Scoring: Noah Slagter 19, Ty Roelofs 14, Drey Dirksen 10, Ryan Slette 11, Cameron Murphy 10, Noah Getz 9, Donald Jurek 9, Adam Roux 10 Jake Evans 9 ... 3-point shots: Slagter 1, Roelofs 1 ... Rebound leader: Roelofs 10, Dirksen 9, Jurek 6 ... Assist leader: Roelofs 4, Dirksen 3, Getz 3 ... Steal leader: Roelofs 2, Roux 2