You won't have to go far to see some strong softball play this spring — once the snow melts again, that is. Lac qui Parle Valley and KMS are sure to battle for top ranks in the Camden Conference this season while Willmar and Morris/Chokio-Alberta are each looking to win their conference and get a crack at a section championship. These teams can do that, though, thanks in large part to their top-end talent. Complete teams are the ones that make waves come playoff time but let's face it: dominant individual performances are pretty fun, too.
GROVE CITY - Good pitching and timely hitting were the keys to ACGC's 6-2 win against Eden Valley-Watkins Monday afternoon on a sometimes beautiful, sometimes blustery day at ACGC High School. Lindsey Minnick was effective throughout the game, striking out 13 batters on the way to a complete game win. She allowed just six hits spread out across those seven innings and gave up just three free passes.
There's so much basketball talent in the West Central Tribune coverage area it certainly couldn't fit on one All-Area team. This year's edition of the All-Area teams features three different teams jam-packed with talented game-changers that accounted for a lot of wins this season. The first team alone has something for everybody, with do-it-all guards, an efficient forward and show-stopping center. This group has plenty of experience with three seniors but the youth portends a bright future, too, featuring an uber-skilled junior and a freshman with frightening abilities.
WILLMAR — The old cliche of a ball not bouncing the way you want it to was in full effect Thursday for New London-Spicer. The top-seeded Wildcats bowed out of the Section 3AA tournament with a 67-58 loss to Redwood Valley, ending their season with a 20-8 record. The fourth-seeded Cardinals will take on Morris/Chokio-Alberta, the three seed, at noon Saturday at Willmar High School.
NEW LONDON — Eden Valley-Watkins kept its undefeated season rolling, downing Litchfield 53-34 in the Section 3AA-North championship game on Tuesday at New London-Spicer High School. Eden Valley-Watkins got 25 points from Emma Schultz, Halle Jansen scored 10 and Olivia Schleper and Sawyer Kuechle both scored eight points. Litchfield's Laney Huhner scored 15 points, Maddy Shoultz scored nine and Kamri Driver finished with eight points.
NEW LONDON — Brandon Adelman scored 39 points and he also had eight rebounds and four assists in New London-Spicer's win over Annandale on Saturday. The Wildcats' Ander Arnold had 17 points and 10 rebounds. NLS 72, Annandale 59 Annandale (9-11) 30 29 — 59 New London-Spicer (16-6) 36 36 — 72
WILLMAR — Willmar's Eldridge DeKraai's goal early in the third period gave the Cardinals a lead, but Redwood Valley's Luke Ryan countered with two-straight goals to complete his hat trick and lead his team to the win Saturday at the Willmar Civic Center. Ryan scored RV's first goal in the first minute of the second period to tie the game 1-1. Willmar's Tanner Bauman scored the game's first goal in the first period. RV's John Burman added an insurance goal in the third. RV goalie Kia Jacobson made 21 saves and Willmar's Gunnar Banks stopped 29 of 33 shots.
MINNEAPOLIS — The Lac qui Parle/Dawson-Boyd Dance Team won Class A Jazz and High Kick championships at the Dance Team State Tournament on Saturday at the Target Center. LQPV/DB scored 572 of 800 points in Jazz to outdistance Zumbrota-Mazeppa, which scored 528 of 800. Yellow Medicine East was fourth at 520. Frazee was third with 524. LQPV/DB placed second in last year's state tournament. In the High Kick competition, LQPV/DB won with 618 of 800 points and YME was second with 596.
ANNANDALE — New London-Spicer tightened up the Wright County Conference West race with a win over Annandale on Saturday. The Wildcats limited the Cardinals to 12 second-half points. NLS' Emma Hanson scored 12 points and had nine rebounds and three steals. Mackenzie Rich and Ava Kraemer both scored nine points and Erin Knisley had eight rebounds. NLS 45, Annandale 36 NLS (18-6) 19 26 — 45 Annandale (16-5) 14 12 — 36
WILLMAR — Karmoga Lero scored 19 points and Ben Opsahl scored 17 in Rochester's win over the Ridgewater men's team on Saturday at Ridgewater College. Rochester 78, Ridgewater 62 Rochester 32 46 — 78 Ridgewater 33 29 — 62