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Cards foiled by Marshall

Willmar Cardinals head coach Steve Grove plots strategy late in the second half on Monday night at Willmar in a non-conference game against Marshall. Tribune photo by Rand Middleton

MARSHALL -- The Marshall Tigers outplayed Willmar down the stretch and won an important meeting of Section 2AAA rivals 78-74 on Monday night.

It was a close, entertaining game all the way with both teams hot from long distance -- combining for 21 three-pointers.

Willmar led late 67-60 before their offensive engine seized up. Inside shots and lay-ups failed to fall and neither would some needed free throws.

Jordan Smith nailed 26 points to lead all scorers. The senior Willmar forward also brought down 14 rebounds.

Smith was 6-of-10 from the arc. Senior guard Jim Neis scored 14 points off the bench. He hit 4-of-6 treys, the last at 3:13 gave Willmar its last lead at 72-71. The rest of the way Willmar managed three free throws.

Smith had a chance to tie with a rushed three-point attempt from 20 feet in traffic, but it missed and Tyler Gim-mestad rebounded. The 6-4 senior, who is headed to North Dakota State to play football, finished with 21 points.

"We missed some opportunities late," said coach Steve Grove. "Marshall came ready and played an entire game. We had spurts but we need to be more consistent."

Isaiah Streed put up 12 points but Taylor Filipek had an off night shooting and finished with nine points on 3 of 11. Brian Reeves added six.

Marshall (12-5) has most of its line-up back from a team that lost by 21 points in the 3AAA semifinals last March. The Tigers lost just 64-62 to highly-rated section foe Mankato West a week ago today.

Worthington, which beat Marshall by eight on Dec. 19, is also looking like a section contender at 12-2.

The Cardinals are at home again tonight to meet Sauk Rapids in a return to Central Lakes play.

Marshall 78, Willmar 74

Marshall (12-5) 46 32 -- 78

Willmar (10-4) 44 30 -- 74

MARSHALL - 26-49 FG (10-19 3-pt); 16-24 FT; 22 rebounds; 18 fouls ... Scoring: Justin Stegner 6, Darrick Allpress 2, Caleb Johnson 2, Taylor Hedman 24, Skyler Stensrud 4, Andrew Mathiowetz 11, Tyler Gimmestad 21, Tyler Alcorn 8 ... 3-point shots: Hedman 4, Stegner 2, Mathiowitz 3, Gimmestad 1... Rebound leaders: not available

WILLMAR - 26-53 FG (11-22 3-pt); 11-19 FT; 30 rebounds; 22 fouls ... Scoring: Alex Saunders 3, Logan Birkland 2, Jim Neis 14, Jordan Smith 26, Isaiah Streed 12, Taylor Filipek 9, Ryan Filipek 2, Brian Reeves 6 ... 3-point shots: Neis 4, Smith 6, T. Filipek 1 ... Rebound leaders: Smith 13, T. Filipek 11, Streed 3 ... Assist leaders: Smith 3, T. Filipek 4, Neis 2 ... Steal leaders: Smith 3