Curt Hogg and Jake Schultz
WILLMAR — If this was the National Football League, Willmar would have just capped off a perfect regular season. The No. 5 Cardinals boys basketball team jumped out to a big first half lead and held on from there, improving to 16-0 with a 73-59 win over Sartell-St. Stephen. With the win, Willmar maintained a two-game lead over St. Cloud Tech in the Central Lakes Conference. Noah Slagter scored a game-high 24 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, leading the Cardinals to a 37-21 halftime lead.
WILLMAR — They say all good things must come to an end. The Willmar girls basketball team had done its best to prove that statement wrong through its first 15 games, but its did undefeated record come to an end on Tuesday night. Alexandria erased a nine-point second-half deficit and fought through a physical contest to down No. 3 Willmar 55-51 in a Central Lakes Conference contest at Willmar High School. "It was a great battle by two really good teams tonight," Willmar head coach Dustin Carlson said.
WILLMAR — In the opening minutes of Thursday's game against Brainerd, the Willmar boys basketball team looked nothing like it had for the first seven weeks of the season: disorganized on defense and muddled on offense. In the blink of an eye, though, the Cardinals turned it around. No. 5 Willmar turned an 11-point deficit into a 13-point halftime lead and kept the foot on the gas pedal from there, improving to 14-0 with a 73-59 win over the Warriors.
WILLMAR — A slow start did not keep the Willmar girls basketball team down for long on Friday night. The No. 5 Cardinals overcame a rough first-half showing to eventually come away with a comfortable victory and remain undefeated with a 63-36 win over St. Cloud Tech on Friday night at Willmar High School. "It was an ugly first, then an impressive second half," Cardinals head coach Dustin Carlson said. "The girls really got after it and turned up the pressure. It was fun to see them turn it around."
MADISON — Kelsea Lund scored her 2,000th career point and No. 7 Lac qui Parle Valley made a statement with a 66-60 win over No. 8 Wheaton/Herman-Norcross on Monday night. Lund, who sealed the victory earlier at the free-throw line, hit the first of a pair of free throws with five seconds remaining to become just the fifth area girls player all-time to reach 2,000 points.
NEW LONDON — Still looking for a defining win this season, New London-Spicer entered the locker room at halftime with a lead against No. 9 Annandale, thanks in large part to 15 points from guard Brandon Adelman. The Wildcats and Adelman cooled off in the second half, however, as the Cardinals came out with a 65-61 win. Adelman and Brandyn Harlow both finished with 20 points for NLS, who dropped to .500 at 5-5 this season. The Wildcats led 35-29 going into halftime after holding a lead as large as eight points earlier in the period
COLD SPRING — There's a new Willmar scoring champion of all time, and his name is Noah Slagter. The senior guard scored 16 points to break the all-time school scoring record and the Cardinals improved to 11-0 with a 76-57 win over Rocori. "It feels pretty good to have that record off my chest now," Slagter said. "It's unbelievable to think about all the players that have come through Willmar and to have the most points, that's crazy."
BECKER — The Willmar boys basketball team reached double digits in wins in as many games, riding a strong first half to a 74-49 victory over Becker in a non-conference victory on Tuesday. Noah Slagter narrowly missed a double-double, finishing with 35 points and nine rebounds. Slagter did most of his work inside, scoring 20 points in the paint and making all nine of his free throws. Ryan Slette came through with 15 points, Adam Roux and Ty Roelofs both scored eight points, and Roux had four steals and Roelofs had three steals.
WILLMAR - BOLD's Gavin Vosika recorded the area's first triple-double of the season, finishing with 15 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists in a 82-48 win over MACCRAY on the first day of the Bremer Bank Holiday Classic Friday at Willmar High School. Vosika fell just three steals shy of a quadruple-double, finishing with seven steals as the Warriors improved to 7-2 on the year. Karl Kosak led a balanced BOLD attack with 25 points and Jordan Sagedahl rounded out the team's double-digit scorers with 10 points. MACCRAY's Thomas Kirking scored a team-high 16 points.
ST. CLOUD — The winning ways keep on rolling for the Willmar boys basketball team. Noah Slagter scored 33 points and grabbed 14 rebounds and the Cardinals improved to 6-0 with a 80-59 win over reigning Central Lakes Conference champion St. Cloud Tech. Willmar wore down the Tigers over the course of the second half, just as it has done with each opponent this season. The Cardinals trailed by one point at the half, but outscored Tech 53-31 over the final 18 minutes. Drey Dirksen added a double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds for Willmar.