Rocori gives Willmar title hopes a jolt
WILLMAR -- The Rocori Spartans remained unbeaten in the Central Lakes Conference Tuesday with a 53-41 win over the Willmar Cardinals. At 4-4, the loss all but took Willmar out of the CLC race. Rocori improved to 7-0 in the league. The Spartans ma...
WILLMAR -- The Rocori Spartans remained unbeaten in the Central Lakes Conference Tuesday with a 53-41 win over the Willmar Cardinals.
At 4-4, the loss all but took Willmar out of the CLC race.
Rocori improved to 7-0 in the league. The Spartans made 20-of-22 free throws.
With its three-point salvos, Willmar kept pace until the final four minutes. The Cardinals posted up 6-2 Cory Hanson against the Rocori front of 6-6 Aaron Traut, 6-5 Justin Stommes and 6-4 Chad Willenbring with 6-4 Aaron Burtzel in reserve.
Even when Hanson (six points) worked free, he had to adjust his shot in the final instant in a forest of hands and arms. Forwards Matt Roisum (eight rebounds), Ryan Hagemeyer (eight rebounds) and Ross Van Hauen had only one two-point basket between them.
Willmar junior guard Kyle Townswick hit three 3-pointers for 17 points. Senior Tyler Horning had seven points.
Willmar made a 10-point run for a 10-3 lead. Rocori led 24-23 at halftime, thanks to a Matt Stommes steal and bucket at the horn.
A Townswick drive and score at 4:39 brought Willmar to within six, 42-36. But Willmar was having trouble pulling the trigger against the Rocori zone and the Spartans pulled away.
Stommes finished with 17 points, Willenbring 15 and Garrett Branstner 10.
"We were within striking distance of a pretty good team," said Willmar coach Steve Grove. "I was pleased with our effort. We'll continue to work on going inside."
Willmar plays its third straight home game on Friday against Sauk Rapids.
Rocori (10-3) has won four straight since a three-point loss to Edina.
Rocori 53, Willmar 41
Rocori (7-0, 10-3) 24 29 -- 53
Willmar (4-4, 7-6) 23 18 -- 41
ROCORI - 14-35 FG (5-11 3 pt); 20-22 FT; 23 rebounds; 10 fouls ... Scoring: Chad Willenbring 15, Garrett Branstner 10, Chad Aaseth 4, Justin Stommes 17, Aaron Traut 7 ... 3-point shots: Willenbring 3, Branstner.
WILLMAR - 15-45 FG (8-19 3 pt); 2-6 FT; 29 rebounds; 21 fouls ... Scoring: Kyle Townswick 17, Cory Hanson 6, Tyler Horning 7, Michael Dunham 3, Matt Roisum 5, Ryan Hagemeyer 3 ... 3-point shots: Townswick 3, Hanson, Roisum, Horning, Dunham, Hagemeyer ... Rebound leader: Roisum 8, Hagemeyer 8 ... Assist leader: Townswick 6, Roisum 2 ... Steal leader: Roisum 2 ... Blocks: Buer 2
NEXT -- Willmar: Friday, home vs. Sauk Rapids