WILLMAR — Willmar scored 45 second-half points to erase and halftime deficit and down Monticello 65-52 on Saturday. Drey Dirksen led the Cardinals with a double-double—20 points and 10 rebounds—and Ty Roelofs had eight points, six boards and seven assists. Willmar's Jake Evans scored 12 points and Bryan Weidemann finished with 10 points. Willmar 65, Monticello 52 Monticello (4-5) 24 28 — 52 Willmar (5-4) 20 45 — 65
In August, Minnesota Vikings fans looked at the 2018 schedule and were confident their team would not be playing football this weekend. All likely assumed their budding NFC juggernaut—a team that won 14 games and advanced to the NFC title game in 2017—would have a first-round playoff bye locked up and would spend this Saturday and Sunday watching Wild Card games to find out which team they'd host in the divisional round. Vikings players no doubt had the same mindset.
ST. CLOUD — Litchfield came through with a 56-50 victory over Concordia Academy to salvage a win Saturday in the St. Cloud Cathedral Tournament after losing the first two games of its season in the first two tourney games. The Dragons' Alex Gruenke and Tyson Michels both scored 14 points and Joe Pennertz had 13 points and nine rebounds. Litchfield 56, Con. Acad. 50 Con. Acad. (4-6) 29 21 — 50 Litchfield (6-2) 34 22 — 56
NEW HOPE—Bailey Olson and Serena Monson dominated the second period and led Willmar to a win over Holy Angels in the Holiday Classic at the New Hope Ice Arena on Saturday. Olson scored Willmar's first two goals—assisted on both by Monson—and Monson made it 3-1 with a short-handed goal late in the period on an assist from Olson. Holy Angels scored on the power play to pull with in a goal in the third period, but the Cardinals' Mya Monson scored an insurance goal on as assist from Olson. Willmar goalie Savana Knutson stopped 31 of 33 shots.
WILLMAR — New London-Spicer cranked up the offense in the first half and rolled to a 70-54 win over Central Minnesota Christian School at the Bremer Bank Holiday Classic on Friday at Willmar High School. The Wildcats scored 41 first-half points and carried an 18-point lead into the break. NLS' Brandon Adelman played a strong game, finishing with 15 points, nine rebounds and six assists. The Wildcats' Ander Arnold had 11 points, four assists and three steals, and Brandyn Harlow had nine points and five rebounds.
A couple of days of snow and ice weren't enough to derail the annual Bremer Bank Holiday Classic boys basketball tournament, which is Friday and Saturday at Willmar High School. The tournament kicks off with a 2 p.m. duel Friday between 7-0 BOLD and 4-5 MACCRAY. BOLD is ranked No. 4 in Class A and has scored 74 or more points in six of its wins, the topper being a 112-point output last Thursday. MACCRAY started the season 4-0 and will be looking to snap a five-game losing streak.
BENSON — MACCRAY battled back from a 12-point deficit in the second half to briefly take the lead, but ACGC held off the Wolverines down the stretch to win 69-59 in the Case IH Invitational third-place game on Saturday at Benson High School. After the Falcons built a 35-23 advantage by halftime, MACCRAY recovered and took a 48-47 lead with 9:44 left in the game.
BENSON — Sharpshooting Hancock began with a flourish and never relented, defeating Benson 79-63 to claim the Case IH Invitational championship on Saturday at Benson High School. The Owls ran their lead to 10 points in the first nine minutes of the game and held an 11-point edge at the break. For the game, Hancock shot 54 percent overall—including 64 percent inside the 3-point arc—and shot 44 percent on 3s (11 of 25).
BENSON — Benson built a sizable first-half lead and withstood an Ogilvie surge in late in the second half to defeat the Lions 58-49 in the Case IH Invitational third-place game on Saturday at Benson High School. Rebounding, especially on the offensive glass, made the difference. The Lions shot better than the Braves—35 percent to 28 percent—but Benson outrebounded the Lions 44-23 overall and held a substantial 26-8 advantage on offensive boards.
BENSON — A coach has a great thing going if he'd have to take a minute to decide if his team's defense or offense was more impressive after winning a championship game. It would be even better if the coach couldn't choose. That may have been the pleasant dilemma facing Morris/Chokio-Alberta head coach Dale Henrich after his Tigers dismantled MACCRAY 67-34 in the Case IH Invitational title game on Saturday at Benson High School.