In light of Valentine's Day on Tuesday, Curt and Jake dig into the boys basketball landscape by handing out their "Valentines" to teams they think can make a run this postseason. Ranked third in the state, CMCS was the obvious choice for the guys, but Section 3AA posed some questions. A handful of local teams could all come out of the section victorious, but Curt and Jake could only pick one.
BRAINERD — The good times kept rolling for the Willmar girls basketball team on Tuesday night. Heidi Sellmann scored 19 points and had 11 rebounds to lead the Cardinals, who shot 59 percent from the field and won their fifth consecutive game by defeating Central Lakes Conference opponent Brainerd, 72-64. "Heidi Sellmann was on fire all game from outside the lane," Cardinals head coach Dustin Carlson said. "Fun to see us coming together offensively. Everyone is stepping up and chipping in when they can."
FERGUS FALLS—The Willmar girls hockey team's playoff run came to an end Tuesday night as Fergus Falls shutout the Cardinals 6-0 in the Section 6A semifinals. Sophie Rausch was a force to be reckoned with for the Otters. She scored the opening goal but didn't stop there. She earned a point in all six of Fergus Falls' goals and scored four of them herself including a pair in the third period.
LITCHFIELD — Litchfield's boys basketball team battled back to bring Tuesday's Wright County Conference matchup to within one but ultimately fell short in a 50-49 loss to Annandale.
BELGRADE — All four top seeds advanced to the semifinals of the Section 5A wrestling tournament on Tuesday. In Kerkhoven, Top-seed KMS advanced with a 47-21 win over No. 8 Osakis, which defeated Ortonville to move into the quarterfinals. In Belgrade, No. 2 BBE overwhelmed New London-Spicer 61-15 after the seventh-seed Wildcats moved into the quarterfinals with a 45-30 victory over No. 10 Holdingford. No. 6-seed Benson got a shot in the quarters with a 54-30 win over No. 11 Minnewaska but No. 3 Paynesville took down the Braves 57-21 to advance to the semifinals.
WILLMAR — Brainerd rode a healthy first-half lead and strong 3-point shooting to hold off Willmar 71-68 in a Central Lakes Conference game on Tuesday at Willmar High School. Willmar fell to 10-12 overall while the Warriors improved to 8-12. Brainerd, which led by 11 at the break, shot a solid 52 percent (12-of-23) from beyond the 3-point line. Michael Russell and Chris Karels, who combined to hit 9-of-13 3-pointers, scored 26 and 17 points. Micheal Bieganek had eight points and eight rebounds.
BIRD ISLAND — ACGC's offense erupted in a West Central Conference match against the BOLD boys basketball team on Monday night, outscoring the Warriors 85-72. Gabe Eisenbacher led the way for the Falcons with 23 points while teammate Erik Belgum logged a double-double with 21 points and 13 rebounds. The Falcons led 39-30 at halftime and kept up the pressure in the second half, outscoring the Warriors 46-42 to close out the game. ACGC's Adam Johnson and Payton Kinzler added 13 and 11 points, respectively, to give the Falcons four double-digit scorers.
PRINSBURG — Hancock pulled away over the final stretch of play to turn a tight contest against CMCS into a comfortable 48-38 win to kick off the front end of a girls-and-boys doubleheader against the Bluejays. Hancock led by as many points as five, but never trailed in the second half. A late run led by guard Kassandra Algarate gave the Owls the 10-point win. Going into the half, the Owls held a slim two-point advantage, then proceeded to control the pace of the game over the final 18 minutes.
SAUK RAPIDS — The Willmar swimming and diving team had seven top-10 finishes and placed seventh at the nine-team Central Lakes Conference Championships on Saturday. The Cardinals scored 152 points. Sartell won the meet with 585 points, followed by Brainerd (384.5) and Alexandria (361). The Willmar team of Mateo Marin-Mera, Ethan Kubesh, Jacob Meyer and Garrett Shuldes placed third in the 400 Freestyle Relay.
SAUK RAPIDS - The Willmar gymnastics team pulled out a solid victory on Saturday, edging the defending Class AA state champion St. Cloud Tech in the Central Lakes Conference Championships. The Cardinals scored 146.675 points and Tech was second with 146.225. Tech downed the Cardinals in a Jan. 26 dual meet, meaning the teams tied for the CLC overall title. "It was a big win for us and hopefully will give the team confidence rolling into sections," said Willmar head coach Jodi Mottinger, whose team hosts to Section 6A championships on Saturday at Kennedy School.