GRANITE FALLS -- Morris Area made 19-of-24 free throws in the second half and turned back Yellow Medicine East 72-62 in a West Central South Conference boys basketball game Friday night. Taylor Witt led the Tigers (5-3, 8-8) with 22 points, six assists and three steals. Mitch Leonard chipped in with 17 points and seven rebounds. Kenton Johnson had a strong game for YME with game-highs of 24 points and 16 rebounds. Dylan Hempel added 17 points and Casey Luepke 10. Morris led 33-27 at halftime, but YME tied the game early in the second half.
PAYNESVILLE -- Melrose slowed down Paynesville's powerful offense to take over the lead in the West Central North Conference with a 54-41 win in boys basketball action Friday. The teams battled to a 19-19 halftime tie, but Melrose (7-2, 12-4) kept the Bulldogs (8-3, 11-5) to just 22 points in the second half. Cory Nietfeld scored 14 points and had 10 rebounds for Paynesville. Ben Moser added eight points and 10 boards. Melrose 54, Paynesville 41 Melrose (7-2, 12-4) 19 35 -- 54 Paynesville (8-3, 11-5) 19 22 -- 41 MELROSE - 16 FG (2 3-pt); 20-27 FT; 39 rebounds; 15 fouls ...
REDWOOD FALLS -- Tyler Pendleton sank 5-of-6 free throws and Aaron Marks hit a three-pointer in overtime to lead Redwood Valley to a 67-63 win over Luverne in a Friday clash between two of the Southwest Conference's top teams. Redwood Valley (8-1, 16-1) missed a shot to win the game in regulation. Marks scored a game-high 20 points to lead Redwood Valley. Dan Bonebright recorded a double-double of 10 points and 14 rebounds.
ROCHESTER -- Ridgewater and Rochester split six contested matches, but the Warriors benefited from four forfeits to win their MCCC wrestling dual, 36-13, Friday. Ridgewater picked up wins from Wade Cruser at 157 pounds, Brent Mason at 197 and Ben Thonvold at heavyweight.
COTTONWOOD -- Esther Peterson posted a double-double of 23 points and 12 rebounds to help Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg knock Lakeview out of a first-place tie in the Camden North Conference by handing the Lakers a 62-45 loss Friday. Dawson-Boyd now leads the conference by itself at 10-3 after the Blackjacks beat Central Minnesota Christian Friday. Dawson-Boyd hosts Lakeview on Tuesday. Lakeview (9-4, 12-8) won the first meeting of the season, but this time around KMS (8-5, 9-8) owned a 35-23 lead at halftime and shot 55 percent (26-for-47) from the field.
Starting tonight at the Civic Center, the Willmar boys hockey team gets two cracks on consecutive evenings at high-scoring Little Falls (18-2). The Central Lakes leaders average 7.3 goals per game, most in the state. Jared Festler (47 goals, 38 assists), Ben Hanowski (29-46) and Beau Hanowski (19-42) are all underclassmen. Willmar travels to Little Falls Saturday in a make-up game.
Jon DeRock, a 6-2 sophomore guard from Buffalo Lake, converted a crucial three-point play and netted a career-high 34 points Wednesday to help Hamline edge Augsburg 85-84. DeRock, who was 6-for-7 from three-point range and 12-for-16 overall from the field, was fouled while making a floater in the lane. DeRock, second on the team in scoring (15.8 ppg), then made the free throw with 1:11 remaining that put the Pipers (6-14) up for good.
BRAINERD -- For the second time, Brainerd topped Willmar this season in a nailbiter. This time, a basket by Emily Thesing in the last five seconds allowed the Warriors to vault past the Cardinals to a 60-58 victory. Brainerd nipped Willmar 60-56 in overtime Dec. 9 behind 28 points by Kayla Huether. This time the junior guard got 21, all but six in the second half. Willmar's Lisa Nielsen had 14 points by halftime and finished with 20 before fouling out in the final minute.
LITTLE FALLS -- The Willmar Cardinals wrapped up the regular season with a 11-5 win over Little Falls on Thursday. Ashley Hutton poured in four goals for Willmar, which finishes 4-12 in the Central Lakes Conference. The Cardinals (8-16 overall) will wait until Wednesday to find the outcome of the Section 6A seeding. "Hopefully, we'll get a first-round home game," said coach Rick Dahle. Willmar led the Flyers 5-0 after one period on two goals by Taylor Sandberg and one each by Kelsey Johnson Chelsey Wierschem, who finished with seven points, and Hutton. Amanda Croonquist was the winning g
The Paynesville boys basketball team hosts Melrose for first place in the West Central North Conference tonight. Paynesville is 8-2 in the loop and Melrose is 6-2. New London-Spicer is also 6-2.