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Willmar trips up Monte

WILLMAR -- It was just the early-February matchup that each team needed. Montevideo got to see a physical team deploying a troublesome press; Willmar needed something to stir its competitive juices after several less than energetic outings. The C...

Jeremy Schendel
Willmar's Jeremy Schendel, right, drives top the basket and scores on a layup Saturday despite the defensive effort of Colton Vien of Montevideo in the second half at Willmar. Tribune photo by Rand Middleton

WILLMAR -- It was just the early-February matchup that each team needed.

Montevideo got to see a physical team deploying a troublesome press; Willmar needed something to stir its competitive juices after several less than energetic outings.

The Class AAA Cardinals (11-5) eclipsed the Class AA Thunder Hawks (14-2) by a 65-60 score in front of an estimated 800 fans, the largest home crowd this winter. Willmar's win evened the entertaining four-year-old non-conference series at two wins apiece.

"This has always been a rivalry for us starting in fifth grade," said Willmar junior Jimmy Unger, who scored a game-high 22 points. "I don't think (our class) ever beat them."

Montevideo, a junior-dominated team, led 10-4 early, but trailed 33-28 at the halftime break. The visitors briefly held the lead once in the second half, 37-36.

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"Give Willmar a lot of credit," said Montevideo coach Dan Douglas. "They played hard and physical. We don't see that style and the hard press much. I liked our effort; this will just make us better."

Jacobey Johnson with 19 points and Brett Bergeson with 18 paced Montevideo, which shot a cool 21 percent (6 of 28) from the three-point arc. Colton Vien scored seven points and nabbed 12 rebounds.

Behind Unger, Alex Grove scored 12 points, Jeremy Schendel 11 and Jake Damhof nine, plus 11 rebounds.

Willmar gave Montevideo few second chances with its 41-32 rebound edge. The Cardinals got 14 points off its bench to just two for the Thunder Hawks.

Willmar made only 3-of-15 three-point attempts -- all three makes were by Unger -- but had a lot of success driving to the basket.

"From last year (a 62-61 Willmar win), we knew they played tight outside on us with not a lot of backside help," said Under. "So we felt that if we could get to the lane we had a good chance for a layup."

Willmar got a good portion of its points that way, including its first two baskets by Schendel.

"That was a quality win against a fine team," said Willmar coach Steve Grove.

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Willmar 65, Montevideo 60

Montevideo (14-2) 28 32 -- 60

Willmar (11-5) 33 32 -- 65

MONTEVIDEO - 19-64 FG (6-26 3-pt); 16-22 FT; 32 rebounds; 19 fouls ... Scoring: Jacobey Johnson 19, Ryan Boike 6, Colton Vien 7, Brett Bergeson 18, Phillip Ward 2, Jake Douglas 8 ... 3-point shots: J. Johnson 1, Boike 1, Vien 1, Bergeson 3 ... Rebound leaders: Vien 12, Douglas 9 ... Assist leaders: Boike 4, J. Johnson 3 ... Steal leaders: Bergeson 2

WILLMAR - 24-58 FG (3-15 3-pt); 14-23 FT; 41 rebounds; 22 fouls ... Scoring: Nate Esboldt 4, Jeremy Schendel 11, Jimmy Unger 22, Jake Rambow 5, Mowlid Mohamud 2, Jake Damhof 9, Alex Grove 12 ... 3-point shots: Unger 3 ... Rebound leaders: Damhof 11, Unger 7, Schendel 4, Esboldt 4, Ryan Lawler 4, Grove 4 ... Assist leaders: Dean Stier 2, Rambow 2, Damhof 2 ... Steal leaders: Rambow 2

Related Topics: BASKETBALL
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