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Girls basketball: Tigers maul Cards

MARSHALL — Willmar had trouble getting the ball to drop early in the second half, allowing Marshall to blow open a close game and defeat the Cardinals 63-42 in a non-conference game on Thursday.

The Cardinals fell to 9-11 overall while the Tigers improved to 20-1. The No. 3-ranked team in Class AAA has won won eight straight game since suffering its only loss to Sioux Falls Washington, the top-ranked large school in South Dakota.

Willmar held the Tigers 10 points below their season average and were within five points at halftime. But the Cards lost their momentum when easy shots wouldn’t fall, said head coach Dustin Carlson.

“Our girls played tough and they did some nice things that gave (Marshall) trouble,” Carlson said. “In the second half, we got some good looks but we missed some bunnies and every time we missed they were off running the floor. If you go scoreless for a four or five minute stretch, you’re in trouble against a team like that. Things just got out of control.”

Leah Ruter hit three 3-point shots and led Willmar with 13 points. Courtney Magnuson finished with 10 points and she also made 4 steals.

Morgan Saugstad scored 18 points and Sarah Buysse had 17 for the Tigers.

Willmar plays at St. Cloud Tech at 7:30 p.m. today.

Marshall 63, Willmar 42

Willmar (9-11)    23 19 — 42

Marshall (20-1)  28 35 — 63

WILLMAR – 15-51 FG (5-17 3-pt); 7-14 FT; 28 rebounds; 20 fouls … Scoring: Courtney Magnuson 10, Jordan Martins 3, McKenzie Hastad 2, Leah Ruter 13, Kalley Fosso 5, Sami Doering 3, Jennie Magnuson 3, Kaitlynn Kienholz 2 … 3-point shots: Ruter 3, Fosso 1, Doering 1 … Rebound leaders: C. Magnuson 4, Megan Rudnick 4, Ruter 4, Fosso 4 … Assist leaders: Martins 5 … Steal leaders: Magnuson 4

MARSHALL– 23-57 FG (3-3 3-pt); 14-26 FT; 37 rebounds; 15 fouls … Scoring: Sarah Buysse 17, Morgan Saugstad 18, Marah Mulson 8, Kenzie Beekman 10, Hannah Bennett 2, Callie Graff 8 … 3-point shots: Buysse 1, Mulso 1