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Willmar Cardinals get off to a slow start, but enjoy a fine finish

Home team opens the season with a 55-32 victory over the Zimmerman Thunder on Friday night

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Willmar junior guard Mackenzie Jones gets tied up at mid-court with two Zimmerman players during Friday's regular-season opener from Willmar High School. Patrick Bernadeau/West Central Tribune

WILLMAR — The offense wasn’t pretty at times, but in its first game of the season, the Willmar girls basketball team was mostly effective the closer it was to the basket.

Behind strong play in the paint and an opportunistic defense, the Cardinals cruised to a 55-32 victory over section-opponent Zimmerman on Friday from Willmar High School.

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Willmar junior guard Mackenzie Jones releases a pass into the paint during Friday's regular-season opener against Zimmerman from Willmar High School. Patrick Bernadeau/West Central Tribune

“(A) little bit of first-game jitters tonight showed up,” Cardinals head coach Dustin Carlson said. “First game out, it was to be expected. We will watch film and work on our miscues. The girls will be willing to get back to work next week.”

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On her team’s first offensive possession of the year, Willmar junior guard Mackenzie Jones received a pass on the right wing. Fixated on the paint, Jones whipped a pass inside to a cutting Madi Linbo, who in one motion sealed off her defender and bounced the ball in off the glass as a part of a three-point play.

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Willmar senior guard Katelyn Murphy scores on an up-and-under move after getting a Zimmerman defender off her feet during Friday's regular-season opener from Willmar High School. Patrick Bernadeau/West Central Tribune

Following an up-and-under move from senior guard Katelyn Murphy in the mid-post, a Jones drive and another Linbo basket down low, sophomore forward Ella Shinn scored in the lane through contact to put the hosts up 12-3. At the point of the game, the defense, playing a pressurized man-to-man, forced nine Thunder turnovers.

The Cardinals enjoyed their first double-figure advantage when a basket from junior forward Callie Slagter made it 17-7 midway through the first half.

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Willmar sophomore forward Ella Shinn scores inside over a Zimmerman contest during Friday's regular-season opener from Willmar High School. Patrick Bernadeau/West Central Tribune

If there were two areas where the home team struggled, it was with its perimeter shooting and giving up offensive rebounds. Zimmerman, the bigger team on the floor, enjoyed a 13-9 advantage on the offensive glass. Corralling a missed shot, Thunder junior guard Liv Williams bounced in a put-back, which closed the deficit to 25-15, but the road team would not get closer.

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Willmar shot 2-for-14 from three-point territory, with makes coming from junior guard Allie Evink and sophomore guard Jaida Reiman, but the team was earned 36 trips to the free-throw line, sinking 21 attempts.

The Cardinals will return to action against Sartell at 7:15 p.m. Tuesday from Willmar High School.

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Willmar sophomore guard Sam Christoffer brings the ball up in transition during Friday's regular-season opener against Zimmerman from Willmar High School. Patrick Bernadeau/West Central Tribune

Willmar 55,
Zimmerman 32

Zimmerman (0-1) 15 17 — 32
Willmar (1-0) 30 25 — 55
ZIMMERMAN - Scoring: Rileigh Miller 1, Anikka Miller 2, Liv Williams 3, Lydia Hagstrom 5, Abby Larson 1, Samantha Paulsen 6, Aly Olerich 3, Bailey Giffen 4, Kyla Wiley 3, Gabby Weber 4 … 3-point shots: Hagstrom 1, Olerich 1 … Rebound leader: N/A … Assist leader: N/A … Steal leader: N/A
WILLMAR - Scoring: Sam Christoffer 4, Amber Evink 3, Katelyn Murphy 9, Mackenzie Jones 7, Sadie Raitz 4, Callie Slagter 6, Madi Linbo 8, Jaida Reiman 6, Ella Shinn 2, Adia Laidlaw 2, Ashley Prahl 2, Emily Staska 2 … 3-point shots: Evink 1, Reiman 1 … Rebound leader: Linbo 6 … Assist leader: Christoffer 2 … Steal leader: Christoffer 2

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Willmar senior guard Madi Linbo finishes a drive into the lane during Friday's regular season opener against Zimmerman from Willmar High School. Patrick Bernadeau/West Central Tribune

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West Central
Benson 65,
Morris/CA 64

Claire Ricard made a basket off a baseline out-of-bounds play with four seconds left to lift host Benson to the victory over Morris/Chokio-Alberta.

The basket enabled the Braves to overcome a 37-27 halftime deficit in both teams’ season-opener.

Senior guard Kaitlyn Berreau led all scorers with 29 points, including seven 3-pointers. Senior forward Claire Ricard added 20 points for the Braves.

For Morris/CA, senior center Malory Anderson had 17 points and sophomore guard Meredith Carrington added 11.

Morris/CA (0-1) 37 27 — 64
Benson (1-0) 27 38 — 65
MORRIS/CA - Scoring: Meredith Carrington 11, Emma Bowman 8, Mackenna Kehoe 7, LaRae Kram 9, Kylee Swanson 8, Malory Anderson 17, Kendra Wevley 4 … 3-point shots: Currington 2, Bowman 2, Kehoe 2, Kram 1 … Rebound leader: N/A … Assist leader: N/A … Steal leader: N/A
BENSON - Scoring: Kaitlyn Berreau 29, Abbie Mitteness 4, Claire Ricard 20, Abby Lundebrek 5, Kimmy Pagel 2, Marissa Connelly 3, Sarah Brandt 2 … 3-point shots: Berreau 7, Connelly 1 … Rebound leader: N/A … Assist leader: N/A … Steal leader: N/A

Nonconference
ACGC 63,
Kimball 57

With four players in double figures, Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City overcame a chippy Kimball squad that brought Friday’s non-conference game to overtime as the Falcons outscored the Cubs 10-4 in the extra period to get the win.

Jeana Denton and Diamond Picotte each had 15 points to lead ACGC, followed by 14 from Daniela Parker and 12 from Rachel Wilner. Denton also finished with eight rebounds, six assists and six steals. Picotte had seven boards, four assists and four steals. In the post, Shayna Hobson had 13 rebounds to go with her five points.

ACGC (1-0) 27 26 10 — 63
Kimball (0-1) 23 30 4 — 57
ATWATER-COSMOS-GROVE CITY - Scoring: Jeana Denton 15, Diamond Picotte 15, Brooke Schroeder 2, Rachel Wilner 12, Daniela Parker 14, Shayna Hobson 5 … 3-point shots: Denton 3, Picotte 4 … Rebound leader: Hobson 13, Denton 8, Wilner 7, Picotte 7 … Assist leader: Denton 6, Picotte 4 … Steal leader: Denton 6, Picotte 4
KIMBALL - Scoring: Ellie Kuechle 16, Madelyn Hunt 15, Cailyn Kuechle 8, Bailee Schiefelbein 4, Madison Schmitz 3, Madison Streit 11 … 3-point shots: E. Kuechle 2, C. Kuechle 1, Schiefelbein 1 … Rebound leader: N/A … Assist leader: N/A … Steal leader: N/A

LQPV 52,
Pipestone 49

Lac qui Parle Valley rallied from a seven-point half-time deficit to win the season-opener at Pipestone.

The Eagles trailed the Arrows 27-20 after the first half, then outscored Pipestone 32-22 in the second.

LQPV is host to Minnewaska Area at 1 p.m. Saturday.

LQPV (1-0) 20 32 — 52
Pipestone (0-1) 27 22 — 49
Stats not available

New Ulm Cathedral 34,
RCW 25

Renville County West opened with a home loss.

Sophomore forward Holly Bratsch led the Jaguars with 12 points and also had three steals. Senior forward Lauren Wulf contributed six steals and nine rebounds and sophomore center Hannah Pharr had 12 rebounds for RCW.

The Jaguars next play host to Sleepy Eye on Tuesday.

New Ulm Cathedral (1-0) 15 19 — 34
Renville County West (0-1) 8 17 — 25
NEW ULM CATHEDRAL - Stats not available
RENVILLE COUNTY WEST - Scoring: Addyson Tanner 2, Lauren Wulf 5, Holly Bratsch 12, Vanessa Savig 4, Jennifer Bratsch 2 … 3-point shots: Bratsch 2 … Rebound leader: Hannah Pharr 12, Wulf 9 … Assist leader: Savig 3 … Steal leader: Wulf 6, Bratsch 3

Hancock 63,
Dawson-Boyd 43

Morgan Kisgen, Rylee Hanson and Alexis Staples each scored in double figures to lead the host Owls to the victory.

Kisgen, a junior guard, had 14 points, six rebounds, two assists and two steals. Hanson, a sophomore forward, added 11 points.Staples, a junior guard, had 11 points and two steals.

For Dawson-Boyd, sophomore guard Laney Bartunek led the way with 11 points and 10 rebounds.

Hancock is host to Hillcrest Lutheran Academy at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. Dawson-Boyd hast Pipestone come to town at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Dawson-Boyd (0-1) 21 22 — 43
Hancock (1-0) 35 28 — 63
DAWSON-BOYD - Scoring: Chelsie Husby 7, Rachael Lund 2, Amelia Olson 3, Alexis Breitenstein 5, Laney Bartunek 11, Avery Bartunek 15 … 3-point shots: Husby 1 … Rebound leader: A. Bartunek 10, Olson 5 … Assist leader: Olson 3 … Steal leader: A. Bartunek 9, Olson 3
HANCOCK - Scoring: Lindsey Mattson 2, Jordan Hausmann 2, Kaitlyn Staples 5, Jenna Kannegiesser 9, Tori Pahl 7, Rylee Hanson 11, Misti Zempel 2, Alexis Staples 11, Morgan Kisgen 14 … 3-point shots: K. Staples 1, Kannegiesser 1, A. Staples 1, Kisgen 1 … Rebound leader: Pahl 8, Kannegiesser 6, Kisgen 6 … Assist leader: Kisgen 2 … Steal leader: A. Staples 2, Kisgen 2

Wabasso Tourney
Wabasso 79
MACCRAY 54,

Trailing 38-34 at halftime, Wabasso outscored MACCRAY 45-14 in the second half to come away with the home victory.

The Rabbits’ Ally Fenger led all scorers with 23 points, followed by 11 from teammate Kelsey Fischer.

The Wolverines got 10 points apiece from Kate Hultgren and Kaisa Jaenisch.

MACCRAY (0-1) 38 14 — 54
Wabasso (1-0) 34 45 — 79
MACCRAY - Scoring: Morgan Blascziek 3, Ella Bourne 3, Kate Hultgren 10, Kaisa Jaenisch 10, Kylee Kimpling 5, Alison Koenen 4, Gabby Randt 7, Elsie Sumner 8, Sydney Thein 2 … 3-point shots: Blacziek 1, Hultgren 2, Jaenisch 1 … Rebound leader: N/A … Assist leader: N/A … Steal leader: N/A
WABASSO - Scoring: Bella Brand 6, Avery Carlson 5, Cora Eichten 8, Ally Fenger 23, Kelsey Fischer 11, Kelsey Frank 3, Sarah Franta 11, Madeline Hanna 3, Halle Huhnerkoch 3, McKenna Rohlik 3, Emma Salfer 1 … 3-point shots: Brand 2, Franta 3, Hanna 1, Huhnerkoch 1, Rohlik 1 … Rebound leader: N/A … Assist leader: N/A … Steal leader: N/A

Late Thursday
Rocori 76,
Paynesville 70 (OT)

Rocori freshman forward Jada Bierschbach scored six of her team’s nine overtime points as the Spartans outlasted Paynesville during both teams’ season opener from Rocori High School.

After the squads went into the extra frame tied at 67, the Bulldogs could only muster three points on a pair of free throws from Kali Reiter and another from Erica Gaebe.

Hitting 7 of her 10 attempts from the charity stripe, Macy Carlson led the visitors with 13 points. With 10 Paynesville players entering the scoring column, Natalie Lieser was the only other Bulldog in double figures with 12.

Bierschbach finished with 14, as did Avery Berg, who nailed three 3-pointers while Laney Griffin led all scorers with 16 points.

Paynesville will return to the floor for a road contest against New London-Spicer at 7 p.m. on Dec. 5.

Paynesville (0-1) 27 40 3 — 70
Rocori (1-0) 25 42 9 — 76
PAYNESVILLE - Scoring: Macy Carlson 13, Natalie Lieser 12, Harley Kunstleben 9, Maddie Hentges 7, Kali Reiter 7, Lindy Hennen 6, Grace Utsch 6, Kendra Schleper 5, Katie Uhlenkamp 4, Erica Gaebe 1 … 3-point shots: Lieser 2, Kunstleben 2, Carlson 2, Hentges 1 … Rebound leader: N/A … Assist leader: N/A … Steal leader: N/A
ROCORI - Scoring: Laney Griffin 16, Avery Berg 14, Jada Bierschbach 14, Brooke Krebs 8, Ashley Libbesmeier 8, Madi Goebel 7, Jessa Okeson 6, Maggie Linz 3… 3-point shots: Griffin 3, Berg 3 … Rebound leader: N/A … Assist leader: N/A … Steal leader: N/A

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Willmar sophomore forward Ella Shinn scores inside over a Zimmerman contest during Friday's regular-season opener from Willmar High School. Patrick Bernadeau/West Central Tribune

Related Topics: BASKETBALLWILLMAR CARDINALS
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