Jake Schultz and Curt Hogg
OLIVIA — A full-court press plus a high-paced offense equals a bad time for any team that gets in the way of BOLD's girls basketball team. That was the case Friday night, as the Warriors defeated West Central Conference foe ACGC 88-48. Makenna Steffel led the defensive effort as the point person on the press and her long wingspan and fast hands caused problems for Falcon ball handlers before they could even reach the half court line. This was the theme early and often as the Warriors held the Falcons to 21 first-half points.
CLARA CITY — Anytime a team can keep Lac qui Parle Valley's Kelsea Lund to 12 points there has to be a bit of "mission accomplished" vibes throughout the gym. Luckily for the Eagles, though, their defense was even stronger. LQPV shut down MACCRAY's offense with a 52-33 victory to move to 6-1 on the season. "We played really well defensively," said LQPV head coach John Nolte. "We limited them a lot from getting shots from the elbow. We did a nice job getting through the screens and really pressuring them."
ST. CLOUD — Hannah Johnson scored 21 points and Cayle Hovland had 15 points and seven rebounds as Willmar remained undefeated with a 78-73 Central Lakes Conference win over St. Cloud Apollo on Tuesday. Madi Linbo also scored in double figures with 12 points, Carly Wedel had nine points, Jordyn Swoboda had eight points and seven rebounds and Sadie Raitz finished with seven points and six rebounds. Willmar led by two at the break and the Cardinals held off the Eagles despite a barrage of second-half 3-point shots.
GROVE CITY — Lindsey Minnick scored 17 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and had five steals, and Madison Denton finished with 14 points and seven rebounds as ACGC defeated MACCRAY 53-41 on Friday. The Falcons led by four points at the break and extended the margin in the second half. MACCRAY's Sydney Schwitters scored 17 points and Piper Asche recorded an unconventional double-double with 12 points and 11 blocks. Asche also had seven rebounds and Ellie Thein finished with six points, five assists and six steals. ACGC 53, MACCRAY 41
LITCHFIELD - The Litchfield/Dassel-Cokato boys hockey team defeated Hutchinson 2-1 on Thursday at the Litchfield Civic Arena. Brandt Pederson and Paul Raisanen scored the Dragons' goals, both in the first period. Litchfield/DC goalie Darby Halonen stopped 35 shots. Alexandria 3, River Lakes 2 OT Alexandria rallied from a 2-0 deficit to take a 3-2 overtime victory against River Lakes Thursday night in Alexandria.
WILLMAR - On Tuesday night, Becker learned what many other Section 5AAA and Central Lakes Conference opponents will find out throughout the season: It isn't very fun to play against Willmar. The Cardinals held the Bulldogs to 12 first-half points, utilizing a 16-point lead at the break en route to a 62-57 win to improve to 3-0 on the year. A trademark balanced offensive attack was in full effect for Willmar, with Madi Linbo, Carly Wedel and Sadie Raitz each scoring 11 points to lead the way. Wedel finished with a double-double, as well, pulling down 12 rebounds.
EDEN VALLEY - Right before the calendar flipped to December, the basketball gods gave their followers a top-ten battle between No. 4 Eden Valley-Watkins and No. 9 New London-Spicer, and it didn't disappoint. The young Wildcats proved they could hang with the big teams with a 48-41 victory over the Eagles. "(Our team) kept battling," said NLS head coach Mike Dreier. "It was a nice win for (our players). It proved they can compete with the better teams around."
WILLMAR — A late third period goal from Fergus Falls' Ellie Andersen proved to be enough for a 2-1 victory over Willmar Tuesday night. The Cardinals started strong with a goal from Bailey Olson 13:46 into the first period but that lead didn't last long. Jade Zierden notched the tying goal just one minute, 22 seconds later for Fergus Falls and it remained that way until Andersen's goal in the third period. Savana Knutson blanked the Otters in the second period and finished the game with only two blemishes on a 33-save night.
PAYNESVILLE — One set away from seeing an early end to the season, the second-seeded Paynesville Bulldogs rallied to hold off an upset attempt by New London-Spicer and defeated the Wildcats 3-2 in the Section 3AA quarterfinals Tuesday night. The Bulldogs won 14-25,17-25, 25-14, 25-20, 15-12. The Wildcats jumped out to a hot start at Paynesville high school with a commanding 25-14 first set victory and followed that up with an equally strong second set. That's when Paynesville took over, though.
MINNEAPOLIS—Willmar's Cayle Hovland and three Litchfield players earned places as the Minnesota state individual tennis tournament wrapped up on Friday. Hovland earned a fifth-place finish in the Class AA tournament with a 6-2, 6-0 win over Eagan's Lauren Ferg at the University of Minnesota's Baseline Club. Hovland advanced to the consolation final with a 6-1, 6-1 win over Mahtomedi's Alexi Harrod in Friday's semifinals. Hovland won three matches at state, with the only loss coming against Class AA state champion, Edina's Nicole Copeland, in the first round.