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Girls basketball: Willmar tops Trojans to move on to semis

Willmar senior Jordan Martins works the ball around the perimeter in the Cardinals’ Section 2AAA girls basketball quarterfinal Tuesday at Worthington. Brian Korthals / Worthington Daily Globe

By Jesse Fuchs

WORTHINGTON — Willmar knew it let a win get away after Worthington left the Cardinals’ gymnasium with a double-digit victory on Feb. 21. Head coach Dustin Carlson and his staff prepared a different game plan for the second meeting in less than two weeks and team executed it well, resulting in a 63-56 upset over the third-seeded Trojans Tuesday in the first round of the Section 2AAA playoffs.

“Looking back at that game, the girls could’ve been a little nervous playing against a two-loss team,” said Carlson. “But we said, ‘We’re just as good as they are.’”

Willmar’s avenging of the 65-50 loss to Worthington puts the No. 6 Cardinals (14-13) into the semifinals where they’ll meet No. 2 Hutchinson (17-9) at 7:45 p.m. Saturday at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter. Hutchinson upended Willmar 65-53 on Dec. 14.

The earlier semifinal pits top-seeded Marshall against No. 2 Mankato East.

Sparking the Cardinals’ fourth straight win Tuesday was Courtney Magnuson’s game-high 24 points. Jordan Martins with 10 was the only other Cardinal to score in double figures, but Willmar’s defense on Worthington’s big three — Ana Boever, Brooke Henning and Paige Gravenhof, who were held to 38 points — stymied the Trojans (21-3).

“We concentrated on those three and it gave them fits,” said Carlson. “We took them out of their offensive game and our defensive rebounds was huge tonight.”

The Cardinals hooked 41 defensive rebounds — 52 total — and held Worthington to 22 field goals in 77 attempts (29 percent). Megan Rudnick pulled in a game-high 9 rebounds with Martins, Lexi Orlowski and McKenzie Hastad grabbing 6 more each.

Martins added 5 assists and Leah Ruter pocketed a team-high 3 steals for Willmar, which was playing its third straight game without Kalley Fosso. The senior tore her ACL against St. Cloud Apollo last Monday and will miss the remainder of the season.

“It hurts losing Fosso, but the girls stepped up in her absence,” said Carlson.

Willmar 63, Worthington 56

Willmar (14-13)  34 29 — 63

Worthington (21-3)           29 27 — 56

WILLMAR – 23-60 FG (3-13 3-pt); 14-23 FT; 52 rebounds; 18 fouls … Scoring: Courtney Magnuson 24, Megan Rudnick 5, Jordan Martins 10, McKenzie Hastad 3, Leah Ruter 9, Sami Doering 2, Lexi Orlowski 8, Kaitlynn Kienholz 2 … 3-point shots: Ruter 1, Magnuson 1, Martins 1 … Rebound leaders: Rudnick 9, Orlowski 6, Martins 6, Hastad 6, Ruter 5, Magnuson 5 … Assist leaders: Martins 5, Magnuson 2, Rudnick 2 … Steal leaders: Ruter 3

WORTHINGTON – 22-77 FG (2-13 3-pt); 10-22 FT; 34 rebounds; 21 fouls … Scoring: Ana Boever 19, Abbie Landgaard 4, Brooke Henning 9, Rebecca Linder 5, Paige Gravenhof 10, Apiew Alwal 9 … 3-point shots: Gravenhof 1, Boever 1 … Rebound leaders: Henning 8, Linder 7, Boever 6

Jesse Fuchs
I have been with the Tribune since the summer of 1998. I enjoy covering the high school aspect of the business and designing pages.
(320) 214-4333