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Prep girls basketball: Willmar pushes forward

Christoffer, Reiman each score 12 points in 59-20 win

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Willmar eighth-grader Telilie Lange (2) pokes the ball away from Redwood Valley's Brynne Farasyn during a first-round game of the WildCard Tournament Monday, Dec. 27, 2021 at New London. Joe Brown / West Central Tribune
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NEW LONDON — The Willmar Cardinals girls basketball team kicked off the WildCard tournament on a tear, earning a 59-20 victory over the Redwood Valley Cardinals on Monday to advance to the championship.

Willmar plays New London-Spicer at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday for the championship. NLS beat Central Minnesota Christian 42-34 in the other semifinal. Redwood Valley and CMCS play for third place at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

“I thought our girls brought a lot of energy into the gym,” Willmar coach Dustin Carlson said. “I thought the girls did a really good job of just pushing forward.”

Willmar began the game with a 16-0 lead. By halftime, Willmar led Redwood Valley 29-8.

Willmar out-scored Redwood Valley 30-12 in the second half.

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“We’re not used to having that big of a run,” Carlson said. “But tonight our girls’ defensive ball pressure led to a lot of girls’ fast-break points.
“The girls really kept that energy to keep pushing forward. You get a little bit of a lead and it’s hard to keep pressuring and fast breaking. But the girls really brought it tonight.”

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Willmar senior Sammy Christopher (left) gets the steal at midcourt from Redwood Valley's Brynne Farasyn during a first-round game of the WildCard Tournament Monday, Dec. 27, 2021 at New London. Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

Sam Christoffer and Jaida Reiman each scored 12 points in the win.

“We definitely have been working on being more intense from the start,” Christoffer said. “We struggled at the beginning of the season with being intense and I think today we started off getting intense steals, tips, scoring right off the bat and as a team we just did really well today.”

Carlson believes Willmar and Wildcats will make for a good WildCard championship.
“We’ve watched a little of NLS film and they’re playing a little bit of a different style of basketball than we’re used to seeing out of NLS,” he said. “(It’s) just without having their big, tall post players in there at all times and playing with a little bit more of an up tempo. That will be a fun matchup to see.”

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Willmar eighth-grader Brielle Ogdahl (3) looks to make a shot in the post against Redwood Valley's Kendall Huhnerkoch during a first-round game of the WildCard Tournament Monday, Dec. 27, 2021 at New London. Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

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Willmar senior Ella Shinn looks to drive to the basket against Redwood Valley during a first-round game of the WildCard Tournament Monday, Dec. 27, 2021 at New London. Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

Willmar 59,
Redwood Valley 20

Redwood Valley (0-9) 8 12 — 20
Willmar (5-4) 29 30 — 59
REDWOOD VALLEY - Scoring: Catherine Buffie 5, Brynne Farasyn 2, Kenzie Lundeen 14 … 3-point shots: Buffie 1, Lundeen 3 … Rebound leader: n/a … Assist leader: n/a … Steal leader: n/a ... Block leader: n/a

WILLMAR - Scoring: Sammy Christoffer 12, Telilie Lange 6, Brielle Ogdahl 5, Grace Haugen 2, Ellary Lange 5, Zoe Schroeder 4, Maycee Gustafson 1, Kenedee Salonek 4, Jaida Reiman 12, Ella Shinn 8 … 3-point shots: Ogdahl 1 … Rebound leader: Reiman 6 … Assist leader: Christoffer 2, T. Lange 2, E. Lange 2, Reiman 2 … Steal leader: Christoffer 6, E. Lange 5, Allie Rosendahl 4, Reiman 4 ... Block leader: E. Lange 1

Matthew Curry is a sports reporter and photographer for the West Central Tribune.
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