The Willmar Cardinals girls basketball team hit the road Thursday night and headed north to Fergus Falls. The final score was Willmar 67, Fergus Falls 52.
The Otters hit their first shot they took and kept the pressure on for the first several minutes of the first half, extending their lead to 19-10 before Cardinal head coach Dusty Carlson called a time out to try and slow the pace. The Cardinals responded with a 16-0 run over a six-minute stretch, grabbing the lead 26-19. Willmar’s defense forced the Otters into tough, contested shots and they also outrebounded their hosts 21-10 in the first half. It was Willmar 32, Fergus Falls 29 into the halftime break.
Willmar was able to build their lead to as many as 15 points in the second half. Fergus Falls never had an answer for the Cardinal’s defensive pressure. Outside the first few minutes of the game, Willmar dominated the Otters, the Cards’ bench depth allowed the starters some rest, while providing offensive and defensive production.
Willmar was led by Ella Shinn and Sammy Christoffer with 13 points, Ellary Lange had 12 points and both Kenedee Salonek and Jada Reiman chipped in 9 points. Willmar’s rebounding advantage pushed to 39-19 over the Otters.
With the loss, Fergus Falls drops to 8-4, 5-2 in the Central Lakes Conference. The Cards improve to 8-5, 3-2 in the CLC. Next up for the Cardinals, they host Brainerd, Saturday, January 15th at the Big Red Gym.