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Girls basketball: Alex tops Willmar with late push

ALEXANDRIA — The Willmar Cardinals fell Tuesday night to Alexandria in Central Lakes girls basketball 43-38.

Willmar led most of the way battling through Alexandria’s troublesome 1-3-1 trap. The visiting Cardinals led 22-19 at half but were held to 16 points the second half.

Senior Heather Horning led Willmar with 16 points plus 4 steals and 7 rebounds.

“We got hurt by turnovers, both forced and unforced,” said coach Dustin Carlson. “And we stopped getting the ball inside the second half and weren’t hitting the 3-pointers.”

Willmar shot 32 percent and went 1 of 10 at the arc.

 Alex didn’t get its first lead until under the 9 minute mark of the second at 30-29. Tied at 34-all, Amanda Christianson, who finished with a game-high 18 points,  sank a triple and another Alex basket put the home team up 39-34 with Willmar now the chaser.

Two baskets, the last by Horning made it 39-38 with plenty of time left but Willmar would not score again while Alex shooters pecked away at the free-throw line for the final margin. Alex made 10 of 12 at the stripe the second half.

The two teams split the winter series. Alex improved to 11-3 CLC and 13-8 overall wrapped up second place in the CLC behind unbeaten Fergus Falls.

“The girls are playing well,” added Carlson noting their effort against the conference runners-up. “I know we haven’t won a lot recently but they are working hard and doing what we ask.”

Anne Dunham grabbed 10 rebounds to go with 8 points.

Willmar (7-8, 11-12) has No. 6 (3A) Marshall at home on Thursday and then polished off the schedule at St. Cloud Tech on Friday. Seeding in 2AAA is Wednesday with games starting Feb. 26.

Alexandria 43, Willmar 38

Willmar (7-8 11-12)    22  16 — 38

Alexandria (11-3 13-8)    19  24 — 43

WILLMAR – 14-44 FG (1-10 3-pt); 9-13 free throws; 37 rebounds; 17 fouls …. Scoring: Courtney Magnuson 6, McKenzie Hastad 6, Heather Horning 16, Anne Dunham 8, Leah Ruter 2 … 3-point shots: Horning  … … Rebound leaders: Dunham 11, Horning 7, Kassyi Linbo 5 … Assist leaders: Dunham 2, Horning 2 … Steal leaders: Horning 4, Dunham 3

ALEXANDRIA – 13-28 FG (4-9 3-pt); 13-21 FT; 16 rebounds; 13 fouls … Scoring: Amanda Christianson 18, Jessica Syvrud 9, Danielle Strater 6, Kalli Bowser 7, Sarah Bruzek 2, Karly Betterman 1 … 3-point shots: Christianson 2, Syvrud 2