Eric Morken is the sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press and Osakis Review newspapers in Douglas County, MN. Follow him on Twitter at echo_sports.
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The Alexandria wrestling team won a 15-team tournament on Saturday as the Cardinals scored 155 points at Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted. That edged second-place Dassel-Cokato by six points. Royalton-Upsala rounded out the top three with 142.5 points. Ryan Borris got Alexandria going with a championship at 106 pounds. The Cardinals took the top two spots in that weight class as Adam Kremer finished second. AJ Sparr got a second-place finish at 120 pounds after he was pinned in 5:25 by Royalton's Jacob Liebold in the title match.
The Alexandria Blizzard's losing streak reached four games on Saturday night as the New Ulm Steel swept a weekend series by finishing off a 4-2 win. The Steel (20-8-3-2, 45 points) are in first place in the West Division and showed why with another win over third-place Alexandria (19-13-0-1, 39 points). New Ulm outshot the Blizzard 48-43 and used two second-period goals to erase what was a 2-1 deficit at the first intermission. Jake Hermann and Luke Benson both scored for Alexandria in that first period after a goal from New Ulm's Tom Reilly.
The West Central Area girls basketball team bounced back from its first loss since Dec. 22 on Thursday by taking care of Long Prairie-Grey Eagle in a 58-49 game on Saturday. The Thunder (5-8) rallied from an eight-point deficit at the break to lead 37-35. The Knights (12-4) countered with a 13-0 run to take control in a game they led by as many as 17 points down the stretch.
The West Central Area boys basketball team might be at its best with no rest or practice time. The Knights wrapped up their third game in as many days on Saturday by winning their third straight. This time, Long Prairie-Grey Eagle fell victim as WCA shot 55 percent (30-55) and knocked down 10 threes on the way to an 83-63 win.
The Minnewaska boys basketball team put up 44 first-half points and rolled to an 82-64 win over Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City on Friday night. The Lakers (10-5) had nine players score in all, led by Jackson Johnsrud's 21. Matt Gruber added 19 points and Shawn Carsten had 12, all in the first half. Senior guard Jaren Kaddatz led the Falcons (6-5) with 17 points and Josh Kinzler, Dawson Miller and Steven Lawver all had 10. MINNEWASKA 44 38 - 82 ACGC 29 35 - 64
The Alexandria Blizzard has followed an 11-game winning streak with a three-game losing streak after New Ulm came to town on Friday night and left with a 4-1 win.
The West Central Area boys basketball team won its second straight game on Friday night as the Knights breezed past Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley in an 88-22 game. Fourteen different players scored for the Knights (7-6) as they shot 54 percent (32-59), including 12-of-25 from three. The Wolverines (2-9) countered by shooting just 9-of-46 as WCA forced 27 turnovers. "We have played with great energy the past two games," WCA head coach Kraig Hunter said. "It was fun to be able to see all 16 of our guys get to play today."
BLIZZARD HOCKEY Alexandria at New Ulm, 7:10 p.m. BOYS BASKETBALL WCA vs. LPGE, 4 p.m. GIRLS BASKETBALL WCA vs. LPGE, 2:30 p.m. SWIMMING AND DIVING Alexandria section True Team meet in Alexandria, 10 a.m. WRESTLING Alexandria at Howard Lake-W-W, 9 a.m.
The only loss of the season for the Parkers Prairie boys basketball team came on Dec. 1 in the season opener. That’s a distant memory right now with the way the Panthers (13-1) are playing. Three days after scoring 90 in a win over Underwood, Parkers Prairie nearly matched that in an 84-55 win on the road against Brandon-Evansville (7-6).
Senior forward Justin Balcome and junior guard Trey Hoepner were having big games on Thursday, so it came as no surprise that Alexandria boys basketball coach Forrest Witt would want one of them with the ball in their hands during a crucial moment.