WILLMAR — The Brainerd girls basketball team defeated Willmar by the slimmest of margins Tuesday night.

However, the Cardinals didn’t have to wait long to exact a measure of payback against the Warriors.

Willmar snatched control in the first half and never trailed in the second half of its 58-50 victory over Brainerd on Thursday night from the Big Red Gym at Willmar High School.

Willmar remained on top of the Central Lakes Conference standings with the victory. The Cardinals are 8-1 in conference play, a half-game ahead of Alexandria (7-1). Alexandria defeated Rocori 73-42 on Thursday.

Brainerd beat Willmar 53-52 in Brainerd earlier this week..

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“Nice bounce-back win tonight, we played a much better overall game,” Willmar head coach Dustin Carlson said. “Our offense had more movement tonight, especially in the first half. We were really excited to see our girls taking skills from practice into the game. Always a great night when all three levels (of our program) get W’s.”

The Cardinals jumped ahead thanks to two separate spurts in the first half.

Willmar went up 18-11 after senior guard Mackenzie Jones stole an inbound pass underneath her basket and scored to cap a 7-0 run. The run was stopped when Warriors junior Kylie Johnson drilled a 3-pointer to break a string of six straight possessions without any points during a three-minute span.

Later in the opening half, the hosts led 24-22 before busting the game open by scoring 10 of the next 12 points.

Off a Warriors turnover, Jones connected on a three-point play to bump the advantage to 32-24. She stripped a Brainerd player two possessions later and went coast-to-coast to cap the surge. Willmar mixed its defense throughout the early going, switching between a man-to-man and zone defense. The Cardinals had their best results when they employed a 3-2 zone that forced the Warriors into many cross-court passes. The road team committed four turnovers within that stretch.

The Cardinals entered the break up 34-26 and had as much as a 14-point advantage in the second half. Brainerd cut its deficit down to five on two occasions, but Willmar hung on for the win.

Jones scored 11 of her game-high 21 points in the first half. She also had six steals and four assists.

Willmar senior guard Mackenzie Jones reacts after hitting a basket in the paint while being fouled during Thursday's Central Lakes Conference game against Brainerd from the Big Red Gym at Willmar High School. Patrick Bernadeau / West Central Tribune
Willmar senior guard Mackenzie Jones reacts after hitting a basket in the paint while being fouled during Thursday's Central Lakes Conference game against Brainerd from the Big Red Gym at Willmar High School. Patrick Bernadeau / West Central Tribune

Sammy Christoffer and Jaida Reiman each had 12 points for the Cardinals. Callie Slagter poured in all of his nine points in the first 18 minutes and added six rebounds. Ella Shinn had just two points, but a team-best 10 rebounds.

Ally Brzezinski and Kate Stadum had 13 and 12 points, respectively, for the Warriors.

Willmar next plays at 7:15 p.m. Friday, Feb. 26 at Bemidji.

Willmar 58,

Brainerd 50

Brainerd (7-4) 26 24 — 50
Willmar (8-2) 34 24 — 58
BRAINERD - Scoring: Kate Stadum 12, Myah Nelson 11, Meghan Smith 5, Ally Brzezinski 13, Iyana Pickar 6, Kylie Johnson 5 … 3-point shots: Stadum 4, Nelson 1, Smith 1, Johnson 1 … Rebound leader: N/A … Assist leader: N/A … Steal leader: N/A ... Block leader: N/A
WILLMAR - Scoring: Sammy Christoffer 12, Ellary Lange 2, Mackenzie Jones 21, Callie Slagter 9, Jaida Reiman 12, Ella Shinn 2 … 3-point shots: Christoffer 1, Jones 1 … Rebound leader: Shinn 10, Slagter 6 … Assist leader: Jones 4 … Steal leader: Jones 6 ... Block leader: none

West Central

Minnewaska 53,

Benson 24

Annika Randt 14 points with four 3-pointers to guide Minnewaska past Benson at Glenwood.

Maddie Thorfinnson had nine points, five assists, four rebounds and four steals.

Mya Kurkosky led the Braves with seven points.

Minnewaska’s next scheduled game is 7:15 p.m. Monday at Eden Valley-Watkins. Benson plays at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Ortonville.

Benson (1-9) 11 10 — 24
Minnewaska (3-7) 29 24 — 53
BENSON - Scoring: Susan Knutson 3, Mya Kurkosky 7, Madi Wrobleski 4, Kimmy Pagel 3, Marley Rush 4 … 3-point shots: Knutson 1, Kurkosky 1, Pagel 1 … Rebound leader: Marissa Connelly 4, Rush 4 … Assist leader: N/A … Steal leader: N/A ... Block leader: N/A
MINNEWASKA - Scoring: Makena Panitzke 3, Maddie Thorfinnson 9, Olivia Richards 2, Addy Randt 5, Madalynn Meulebroeck 1, Isabella Ortendahl 8, Annika Randt 14, Avery Hoeper 5, Brecklyn Beyer 6 … 3-point shots: Panitzke 1, Ad. Randt 1, An. Randt 4 … Rebound leader: Meulebroeck 5 … Assist leader: Thorfinnson 5 … Steal leader: Panitzke 4, Thorfinnson 4 ... Block leader: Thorfinnson 1, Ortendahl 1

Montevideo 55,

Morris/CA 54

After Morris/Chokio-Alberta took a one-point lead with eight seconds to go, Montevideo’s Avery Koenen drove to the bucket and banked in a running floater as time expired to give the Thunder Hawks the home win.

Montevideo overcame a 28-21 halftime deficit to get its eighth win of the year.

Koenen had a game-high 28 points along with a team-best seven rebounds. Tenley Epema and Hailey Dirksen each followed with nine points.

The Tigers were led by LaRae Kram’s 19 points.

Montevideo next plays at 7:15 p.m. Monday at Redwood Valley. Morris/CA plays Redwood Valley on Friday in Morris.

Morris/CA (3-8) 28 26 — 54
Montevideo (8-2) 21 34 — 55
MORRIS/CHOKIO-ALBERTA - Scoring: Maddy Grove 8, Emma Bowman 3, Kate Kehoe 7, LaRae Kram 19, Kaylie Raths 5, Sydney Dietz 6, Shannon Dougherty 6 … 3-point shots: Kram 1 … Rebound leader: N/A … Assist leader: N/A … Steal leader: N/A ... Block leader: N/A
MONTEVIDEO - Scoring: Teagan Epema 7, Tenley Epema 9, Avery Koenen 28, Hailey Dirksen 9, Kassey Pauling 2 … 3-point shots: Tea. Epema 1 … Rebound leader: Koenen 7 … Assist leader: N/A … Steal leader: N/A ... Block leader: N/A

Camden

CMCS 61,

KMS 45

Central Minnesota Christian enjoyed a 39-16 halftime advantage before defeating Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg at Prinsburg.

Coco Duininck led the Bluejays with 24 points after shooting 6-for-16 from the field and 10-for-15 from the foul line. She also had seven rebounds, five assists and five steals.

Nyssa Vogel had 15 points and a team-best three blocks. Molly Mulder put up eight points, 13 rebounds (nine offensive), six assists and two blocks.

For KMS, Maret Gjerde had 20 points, nine rebounds and two steals. Julia Carlson added 13 points and two steals.

CMCS plays Dawson-Boyd at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in Prinsburg. KMS faces Renville-County West on Tuesday in Kerkhoven.

KMS (1-9) 16 29 — 45
CMCS (7-3) 39 22 — 61
KERKHOVEN-MURDOCK-SUNBURG - Scoring: Elsa Gjerde 3, Maret Gjerde 20, Julia Carlson 13, Josie Gjerde 2, Lauren Krieger 4, Hayley Demuth 3 … 3-point shots: M. Gjerde 4, Carlson 1 … Rebound leaders: J. Gjerde 9, Demuth 5 … Assist leader: Elsa Gjerde 5 … Steal leaders: M. Gjerde 2, Carlson 2 ... Block leaders: Grace Collins 1, M. Gjerde 1, Carlson 1
CENTRAL MINNESOTA CHRISTIAN - Scoring: Maaike Duininck 6, Emma Roiseland 2, Molly Mulder 8, Lauren Taatjes 6, Coco Duininck 24, Nyssa Vogel 15 … 3-point shots: C. Duininck 2, Vogel 3 … Rebound leader: Mulder 13, C. Duininck 7 … Assist leader: Mulder 6, C. Duininck 5 … Steal leader: C. Duininck 5 ... Block leader: Vogel 3, Mulder 2, Taatjes 2

LQPV 60,

D-B 17

Cassidie Olson ahd 16 points and nine rebounds to help lead Lac qui Parle Valley to the victory at Dawson-Boyd.

Cameryn Lee added 15 points and eight rebounds for the Eagles.

Rachael Lund had six points and four rebounds for the Blackjacks.

LQPV plays at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday against MACCRAY in Clara City.

LQPV (8-2) 38 22 — 60
D-B (1-10) 11 6 — 17
LQPV - Scoring: Rylee Lund 7, Macie Lund 7, Addy Bonn 3, Taylor Shelstad 7, Cassidie Olson 16, Tori Bungarden 5, Camryn Lee 15 … 3-point shots: R Lund 2-5, M. Lund 1-6, Bonn 1-2, Shelstad 1-2… Rebound leader: Olson 9, Lee 8 … Assist leaders: M. Lund 3, Alex Stitt 3 … Steal leader: M. Lund 4 ... Block leader: Lee 1
D-B - Scoring: Rachael Lund 6, Hayley Anderson 2, Kate Dahl 4, Allison Estling 5 … 3-point shots: R. Lund 1-2, Estling 1-1 … Rebound leader: R. Lund 4, Ella Johnson 4, Estling 4 … Assist leader: Dahl 2 … Steal leaders: Johnson 1, Estling 1 ... Block leader: Dahl 2

MACCRAY 59,

RCW 23

MACCRAY used a 41-10 first-half advantage to cruise past Renville County West at Clara City.

Ella Bourne had 14 points and six steals and Elsie Sumner added 12 points and nine rebounds to lead the Wolverines.

Holly Bratsch paced the Jaguars with seven points. Hannah Pharr was held to three points, but had five rebounds and seven blocks.

MACCRAY next plays Lac qui Parle Valley at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Clara City.

RCW (3-7) 10 13 — 23
MACCRAY (6-5) 41 18 — 59
RENVILLE COUNTY WEST - Scoring: Addyson Tanner 2, Holly Bratsch 7, Emily Lippert 4, Rachel Jakel 6, Hannah Pharr 3, Avery Roxberg 1 … 3-point shots: H. Bratsch 1, Lippert 1 … Rebound leader: Pharr 5 … Assist leader: Jennifer Bratsch 2 … Steal leader: Tanner 3, Jakel 3 ... Block leader: Pharr 7
MACCRAY - Scoring: Ella Bourne 14, Sydney Thein 3, Kaisa Jaenisch 8, Kylee Kimpling 7, Elsie Sumner 12, Alison Koenen 6, Brynn Lozinski 2, Gabby Randt 7 … 3-point shots: Bourne 3, Thein 1-3, Jaenisch 2-5 … Rebound leaders: Sumner 9, Kimpling 8, Randt 7… Assist leaders: Kimpling 4, Koenen 3, Jaenisch 3 … Steal leader: Bourne 6, Kimpling 5, Randt 5 ... Block leader: none.

R-T-R 68,

YME 54

Yellow Medicine East trailed 41-25 at the half before falling to Russell-Tyler-Ruthton at Tyler.

Hannah Stark led the Sting with 17 points and five assists. Shelby Mortensen a

YME is host to Tracy-Milroy-Balaton at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in Granite Falls.

YME (2-8) 25 29 — 54
R-T-R (7-3) 41 27 — 68
YELLOW MEDICINE EAST - Scoring: Ruby Bones 14, Stella Schuler 2, Madelynn Luft 2, Hannah Stark 17, Brylea Ruff 5, Shelby Mortenson 14 … 3-point shots: Stark 2, Ruff 1 … Rebound leader: Mortensen 12, Ruff 6 … Assist leader: Stark 5, Mortenson 3 … Steal leader: Schuler 3 ... Block leader: Mortenson 8, Bones 2
RUSSELL-TYLER-RUTHTON - Stats not available

Non-Conference

BOLD 65,

Sleepy Eye 57

Laney Braulick had 19 points, Mari Ryberg had 13 points, nine rebounds and three assists and Abby Meyers contributed nine points and 10 rebounds to lead BOLD to the victory over Sleepy Eye at Olivia.

Sleepy Eye ninth-grader Kadence Hesse, playing in her fourth game since recovering from a broken leg, had 21 points.

“She’s tough,” BOLD head coach Brian Kingery said.

BOLD plays Buffalo-Lake-Hector-Stewart at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in Olivia.

Sleepy Eye (5-5) 29 28 — 57
BOLD (6-4) 38 27 — 65
SLEEPY EYE - Scoring: Brooklyn Moldan 8, Bren Mertz 14, Kaydince Thoms 12, Kadence Hesse 21, Erica Lozano 2… 3-point shots: Moldan 2, Thoms 2, Hesse 1 … Rebound leader: N/A … Assist leader: N/A … Steal leader: N/A ... Block leader: N/A
BOLD - Scoring: Laney Braulick 19, Caylee Weber 4, Mari Ryberg 13, Kenzie Visser 4, Lily Dean 7, Leslie Snow 9, Abby Meyers 9… 3-point shots: Braulick 1, Dean 1 … Rebound leaders: Meyers 10, Ryberg 9, Visser 6 … Assist leaders: Ryberg 3, Meyers 4 … Steal leaders: Ryberg 5, Braulick 3 ... Block leader: Visser 2