Willmar rolls past Fergus Falls; to face Rocori in championship

ST. CLOUD - The Willmar Cardinals will play for a boys basketball section title a fourth straight year after outshooting Fergus Falls 69-47 Saturday in an 8AAA semifinal-round game.

ST. CLOUD - The Willmar Cardinals will play for a boys basketball section title a fourth straight year after outshooting Fergus Falls 69-47 Saturday in an 8AAA semifinal-round game.

Willmar meets Rocori for the second year in a row on the Halenbeck floor for the trip to state. Willmar is 0-for-3 in section finals the last three years, including a 45-36 loss to the Spartans here a year ago.

The Cardinals (16-10) have won five straight and seven of their last eight. The biggest win in that streak was a comeback win to beat the Central Lakes' champions in Cold Spring 46-43 on the last day of February.

Willmar looked at home on the Huskies' spacious floor, shooting 61 percent and hitting 8 of 12 three-point attempts. Kyle Townswick was near his average with 22 points. Tyler Horning added 12 points, Ryan Hagemeyer 11, Matt Seehusen 10 and Cory Hanson seven.

Horning drained a trey to start the scoring and Willmar would never trail the Otters (7-19), a new member of the CLC.


Fergus, which trailed 31-27 at halftime, made it interesting in the second half pulling to within a point of the lead on four occasions. At 37-36, Townswick sank a trey and at 42-41, the junior guard hit a runner in the lane but each time Fergus bounced back led by Nick Lewis who would finished with 15 points.

With the lead down to one again, 44-43, Horning popped a trey to start a 9-0 run that would skin the Otters for good. Next, Hagemeyer floated outside and employed a screen from Townswick to crank in a 20-footer from above the key.

"I like going out there (to shoot)," said the 6-5 junior. "Guys that cover me down low usually aren't used to going out there on defense, but what really opens things up is when they're paying a lot of attention to Kyle and maybe double-teaming him."

Townswick, who was 9-of-11 on field-goal attempts, sank his third trey of the game for a 53-43 lead at 4:50. Willmar finished the game on a 25-4 run the last 7:35.

Willmar also had a 2-1 advantage in rebounds, led by Matt Roisum with 10.

"The first half, we shot the ball well, but we had 12 turnovers, which is what we usually hold it down to in an entire game," said coach Steve Grove. "The second half, we started showing patience running the offense and the screens gave us some open looks. We're pleased to be back in the final. This is the opportunity the team works for."

Two years ago, Willmar fell to Fergus Falls 56-53 in the championship game. Three year ago, Willmar fell in overtime to Mankato East 66-62 in 2AAA.

In the late afternoon game, Rocori (22-5) repelled the Detroit Lakes' stall, 34-18.


The 8AAA champion plays the 3AAA champion at Williams Arena at 10 a.m. March 22.

Willmar 69, Fergus Falls 47

Willmar (16-10) 31 38 - 69

Fergus Falls (9-17) 27 20 - 47

WILLMAR - 25-41 FG (8-12 3 pt); 11-15 FT; 32 rebounds; 13 fouls ... Scoring: Tyler Horning 4-7 2-2 12, Matt Roisum 0-5 3-4 3, Ryan Hagemeyer 4-7 1-2 11, Kyle Townswick 9-11 1-3 22, Cory Hanson 3-4 0-0 7 Matt Seehusen 3-4 4-4 10, Luke Buer 1-1 0-0 2, Thomas Boike 1-1 0-0 2 ... 3-point shots: Horning 2-3, Hagemeyer 2-2, Townswick 3-3, Hanson 1-2 ... Rebound leader: Roisum 10, Hagemeyer 5, Buer 4 ... Assist leader: Hanson 4, Townswick 3 ... Steal leader: Roisum 2, Hanson 2

FERGUS FALLS - 20-48 G (2-16 3 pt); 5-8 FT; 16 rebounds; 19 fouls ... Scoring: Nick Lewis 5-14 3-5 15, Curt Sandahl 2-4 0-0 4, Andy Larson 5-12 0-0 10, Carl Hauser 5-9 1-2 11, Alex Morstad 3-7 1-1 7 ... 3-point shots: Lewis 2-5 ... Rebound leader: Larson 5 ... Assist leader: Carl Carpenter 6 ... Steal leader: Larson 6

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