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Girls Basketball: Redhawks sail by Cardinals

Willmar senior forward Megan Rudnick (4) uses one hand to leverage a defensive rebound from the grip of Minnehaha Academy’s Sarah Kaminski in the third-place game of the West Central Tribune Wild-Card Tournament Saturday in Willmar. Tribune photo by Rand Middleton

WILLMAR — Minnehaha Academy coach Josh Thurow appreciates the West Central Tribune-sponsored Wild-Card Tournament.

“We’ll be back next year if they’ll have us,” he said after Friday night’s four-point loss to New London-Spicer.

With only one senior contributor in the lineup, the Redhawks should be even more formidable.

The St. Paul private school, playing in the holiday tournament a fourth straight year, appeared as comfortable as home cooking in polishing off the host school 62-38 in Saturday’s third-place matchup.

Willmar played hard but shot just 25 percent from the floor and was a miserable 6 of 19 at the free throw line.

“I can see we’re going to have to work more the next practices on offense,” said Willmar coach Dustin Carlson. “Fortunately, we’re just a fourth of the way into the schedule. There’s still time to progress and get better.”

The Redhawks were able to work the ball inside from the start, something they were unable to so against the Wildcats’ 2-3 zone 24 hours earlier. The Redhawks took an early double-digit lead that the Cardinals barely dented.

Down 32-22 at halftime, the Cardinals’ Courtney Magnuson scooted inside for back-to-back layups — one a 3-point play — to make the score 36-28 at the 11:40 mark. But within the next 70 seconds, the junior guard picked up her fourth and fifth fouls and was gone.

At the 4:18 mark and the score 54-33, the Redhawks retracted their talons and went into delay.

Sophomore guard Sarah Kaminski, the team’s top scorer, finished with 16 points and 13 rebounds.

Magnuson and Kalley Fosso scored 8 points each, McKenzie Hastad with 7 and Kaitlynn Kienholz, a junior center who comes off the bench, delivered 6 points and 5 rebounds for Willmar.

While shooting and passing remain an issue for the Cards, Carlson detected an effort that was lacking in the semifinal loss to Albany.

“That was the big issue in that game,” he said. “We showed no passion. No one responded and tried to put the ball in the hole. Tonight, we showed energy and at least played a scrappy game.”

Up next for the Cardinals is a road game on Friday at Sauk Rapids.

Minnehaha Academy 62, Willmar 38

Minnehaha Academy (6-2)          32 30 — 62

Willmar (3-4)      22 16 — 38

MINNEHAHA ACADEMY – 19-49 FG (3-19 3-pt); 21-29 FT; 33 rebounds; 16 fouls … Scoring: Angela Scharf 10, Tory Kronschnabel 2, Jenn Mrozek 8, Lilly Thomey 2, Olivia West 6, Gracia Gilreath 8, Terra Rhoades 6, Sarah Kaminski 16, Betsy Elliot 4 … 3-point shots: Kaminski 2, Rhoades 1 … Rebound leaders: Kaminski 13, Thomey 7 … Assist leaders: Gilreath 6, Kaminski 4 … Steal leaders: Kaminski 6, Gilreath 4

WILLMAR – 14-57 FG (4-17 3-pt); 6-19 FT; 36 rebounds; 22  fouls … Scoring: Courtney Magnuson 8, Courtney Hanson 3, Jordan Martins 1, McKenzie Hatad 7, Bailey Hovland 2, Leah Ruter 3, Kalley Fosso 8, Kaitlynn Kienholz 6 … 3-point shots: Hanson 1, Fosso 2, Ruter 1 … Rebound leaders: Kienholz 5, Hastad 6, Martins 4, Megan Rudnick 4 … Assist leaders: Martins 2 … Steal leaders: Fosso 2

Rand Middleton
Tribune photographer/videographer. Began working in radio and at weekly newspaper in Munising, Michigan, in 1972. Started parttime at West Central Daily Tribune Sept. 1974. Fulltime news/sports beginning Feb. 1979. Married to Tribune news clerk Donna (Miller) Middleton, formerly of Kerkhoven. 2 grown children. 
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