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Boys basketball: Willmar falls in OT in regular-season finale

ST. CLOUD — An overtime loss to end the regular season Monday might be the difference between playing on the road or in the comfy confines of their home gym for the Willmar Cardinals.

Willmar had a shot to sweep the season series against fellow charter member of the Central Lakes Conference St. Cloud Tech, but a three-pointer and an offensive putback in the final moments couldn’t find the bottom of the basket as the Tigers sent the Cardinals home with a 64-62 loss.

Willmar drubbed the Tigers 80-61 in Willmar on Jan. 19.

The Cardinals lost four of their final five regular season games to drop to 12-13. Willmar was ahead of Hutchinson for the No. 4 seed in the Section 2AAA playoffs entering Monday’s contest, but last night’s stinging loss could allow Hutchinson to host the Cardinals next Tuesday in the postseason opener.

Hutchinson, which beat Willmar 57-54 at home in the Cardinals’ season opener, has won three straight and is 10-13 with two games remaining, but just one before the coaches seed on Wednesday.

Tech never trailed in overtime, thanks to an early three-pointer.

Willmar would cut the Tigers’ lead down to one on three occasions, but the Tigers had an answer to each Cardinal bucket.

Kyler Johnson paced Willmar with 17 points, Austin Rambow added 15 and Cody Magnuson 14. Magnuson knocked down four 3-pointers and Johnson three more, but Tech made nine treys and had a slight rebounding advantage.

SC Tech 64, Willmar 62

Willmar (7-9 12-13)    24 32 6 — 62

SC Tech (5-10 8-17)    30 26 8 — 64

WILLMAR – 23-51 FG (7-18 3-pt); 9-13 FT; 27 rebounds; 16 fouls … Scoring: Joe Leuze 2, Jordan Geurtz 4, Sean Zuidema 2, Cody Magnuson 14, Kyler Johnson 17, Austin Rambow 15, Alex Grove 8 … 3-point shots: Magnuson 4, Johnson 3 … Rebound leaders: Grove 9, Rambow 6 … Assist leaders: Grove 3 … Steal leaders: Leuze 3

ST. CLOUD TECH – 19-56 FG (9-20 3-pt); 10-17 FT; 31 rebounds; 14 fouls … Scoring: Andy Foley 18, Phil Amundson 4, Ryan Kunkel 6, Bryant Bollig 3, Jake Martig 19, Jake Kidrowski 5, Isaac Matchinsky 9 … 3-point shots: Bollig 1, Martig 4, Kidrowski 1, Matchinski 3