WATERTOWN -- In a match between two teams that had never qualified for the state tournament, Annandale/Maple Lake rallied past New London-Spicer 28-26 Friday in the Section 5AA final. NLS won four of the first five matches to take a 17-3 lead before the Lightning (23-2) won seven consecutive matches to take control and secure a berth in the Class AA state tournament, where they will take on third-ranked St. Michael-Albertville on Feb.
BROWNTON -- Alyssa Kubesh became just the second player from Buffalo Lake-Hector to reach a 1,000 career points Thursday night, but the Mustangs fell to McLeod West 59-48 in a Tomahawk Conference game. Kubesh, the area's sixth-leading scorer this season, scored her 1,000th point on a free throws. She finished with 22 points and received the game ball after the game for reaching the milestone. Leah Ashburn is the only other BLH player to reach 1,000 points. The 2006 graduate finished with 1,798 points for her career.
HANCOCK -- Hancock, the seventh-ranked girls team in Class A, overcame a poor three-point shooting night to beat Brandon-Evansville 50-41 in non-conference action Friday. The Owls (19-3) shot 13 percent (2 of 16) from behind the arc. Jenny Noordmans posted a double-double of 14 points and 13 rebounds to pace Hancock. Tara Thielke scored 16 points. Hancock 50, Brandon-Evansville 41 Brandon-Evansville (15-7) 18 23 -- 41 Hancock (19-3) 23 27 -- 50 BRANDON-EVANSVILLE - 15 FG (3 3-pt); 8-10 FT; rebounds not available; 18 fouls ...
MELROSE -- The New London-Spicer gymnastics team has never advanced to the state meet before. That could all change today when the Wildcats compete in Section 6A with a good chance to finally unseat perennial power Melrose. Melrose has won 16 straight section titles, but are the underdog this season after losing to New London-Spicer in a dual meet earlier this year and also to the Wildcats in the conference tournament last week. New London-Spicer scored a 140.925 en route to winning the West Central Conference meet in Morris last weekend.
GLENWOOD -- Paynesville cashed in from the free-throw line while keeping Minnewaska away from it en route to a 70-58 win in West Central North boys basketball action Friday. The Bulldogs (10-3, 14-5), who trail Melrose by one game in the loss column for the conference lead, made 17-of-25 free throws, while the Lakers (6-6, 9-10) went to the line only four times, sinking three. Cory Nietfeld recorded a game-high 26 points for Paynesville, followed by Ben Moser's 19. Jon Hoffmann and Mike Anderson led Minnewaska with 13 points each.
CLARA CITY -- MACCRAY's defense clamped down on Dawson-Boyd in the second half, allowing the Wolverines to clinch a tie for the Camden North Conference title with a 73-56 win Thursday. MACCRAY finished in a tie with Lakeview for first place in the conference. The teams slugged it out offensively in the first half with the Wolverines holding a slight 37-34 advantage. MACCRAY (12-3, 15-5) held the Blackjacks (8-7, 9-9) to 22 points in the second half to seal the victory. The Wolverines' Zach Thissen led all scorers with 24 points, including three 3-pointers.
SARTELL -- The Willmar Cardinals' February scoring drought continued Thursday night in a 3-1 loss to Sartell. Willmar scored the game's first goal -- Jordan Gauer from Josh Aslesen and Joel Jonsson, a power-play goal at 6:30 of the first frame -- but couldn't dent the Sabres' last line of defense again. Sartell goalie Matt Goodmanson finished with 22 stops giving the Sabres a sweep of the Central Lakes Conference series. Since a 6-3 win at Alexandria Jan.
All four of the top seeds in Section 4A advanced to Saturday's semifinals at Dawson. Top-seeded Canby thumped Lac qui Parle Valley 59-9 in a quarterfinal match. The Lancers will face No. 4 Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg, a 52-27 winner over Dawson-Boyd, in one semifinal at 1 p.m. No. 2 Minneota, which defeated Renville County West 40-22, will next meet No. 3 Yellow Medicine East, a 56-12 winner over Benson, in the other semifinal at 1 p.m.
RENVILLE -- Tyler Pendleton scored 22 points, Mike Felt 20 and Dan Bonebright 16 as Redwood Valley thumped Renville County West 89-55 in a non-conference game Thurdsday night. Brent Jansen tallied 22 points for the Jaguars (2-19). Nate Johannsen added 13 points and seven boards. Redwood Valley 89, RCW 55 Redwood Valley (18-3) 49 40 -- 89 RCW (2-19) 27 28 -- 55 REDWOOD VALLEY - 33-63 FG (11-21 3-pt); 12-26 FT; 38 rebounds; 22 fouls ...
GROVE CITY -- Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City clinched a share of the West Central South girls basketball title with a 61-44 win over Morris/Chokio-Alberta Thursday. The Falcons (10-2, 14-8) tied with Lac qui Parle Valley (10-2, 14-8) for the title. Kayla Dallmann and Brittany Smith dominated the blocks for the ACGC, scoring 22 and 19 points, respectively.