Dec. 28—WILLMAR — After starting the season 0-5, the Willmar girls basketball team got a wave of relief on Tuesday night.
In the opening round of the Heritage Bank WildCard Holiday Tournament, Willmar built a 17-point halftime lead and never looked back in a 49-28 victory at the Big Red Gym.
The win was the first of the season for Willmar and the first for head coach Brendan Hedtke.
"It was good; we definitely needed that win to push through the past," said Willmar senior guard Allie Rosendahl. "Hopefully we can continue working for it and enjoy the feeling."
From the start, Willmar thrived in the paint. It built an 8-0 lead. Ten of the team's 18 field goals came from within four feet of the hoop.
"We knew crashing the boards and getting rebounds would be a big one tonight so we took advantage of that," said Rosendahl, who scored a Willmar-best 10 points to go with four rebounds and three steals. "We knew our girls were bigger than them and stronger than them and we put them to work."
On both the offensive and defensive end, freshman Brielle Ogdahl was a pest down low. Along with seven points, the 5-foot-11 Ogdahl snagged 16 rebounds (four offensive) and blocked six shots for Willmar. She was the defensive catalyst for a defense that limited Redwood Valley to two first-half field goals.
"Defensively, she was a monster," Hedtke said of Ogdahl. "She was phenomenal for us.
"That's what we emphasize; we tell the girls you gotta play hard, you gotta box out and you gotta rebound. They were just as big as us."
Trailing 24-7 at the break, it took Redwood Valley 1 minute, 39 seconds to double its scoring output in the second half.
Kendall Huhnerkoch scored all of her team-high 10 points in the opening three minutes. Then with a steal and layup from Morgan Kodet, Redwood Valley cut Willmar's lead to 27-19 with 15 minutes to play, prompting Hedtke to call a timeout.
"I told them we need to settle down," Hedtke said. "Sometimes they score two straight buckets and we get frantic. I told them to settle in, we still have the lead, we can take our time."
Hedtke added, "They listened, they played great defensively and we were able to come away with it."
From that point, Willmar's defense went to its first-half form. They held Redwood Valley to two field goals the rest of the way.
Willmar plays New London-Spicer for the WildCard championship at 8 p.m. Wednesday back at the Big Red Gym.
"I got one win and (NLS head coach Mike) Dreier's got a thousand, so I'm a little bit behind him in the win column," Hedtke said. "Hopefully we can add another one tomorrow."
Redwood Valley (1-4) 7 21 — 28
Willmar (1-5) 24 25 — 49
REDWOOD VALLEY — Scoring: Kenzie Lundeen 5, Brynne Farasyn 4, Morgan Kodet 2, Jessica Barber 2, Kylee Larsen 5, Kendall Huhnerkoch 10 ... 3-point shots: Lundeen 1, Huhnerkoch 2 ... Rebound leader: n/a ... Assist leader: n/a ... Steal leader: n/a ... Block leader: n/a
WILLMAR — Scoring: Kendall Hanson 2, Brielle Ogdahl 7, Maycee Gustafson 2, Telilie Lange 5, Mardison Norsten 1, Allie Rosendahl 10, Zoe Schroeder 8, Deshawna Hodges 2, Jossy Heck 4, Kenedee Salonek 8 ... 3-point shots: Ogdahl 1, Lange 1, Rosendahl 2, Salonek 1 ... Rebound leaders: Ogdahl 16, Salonek 5 ... Assist leaders: Lange 6, Ogdahl 3 ... Steal leaders: Rosendahl 3, Hodges 3 ... Block leader: Ogdahl 6
The Edgerton Flying Dutchmen cruised to a victory past the Renville County West Jaguars at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall.
Emily Lippert led RCW with 10 points. Johanna Braun contributed four points, seven rebounds and five steals and Holly Hinderks added three points and three assists for the Jaguars.
RCW (4-5) 14 14 — 28
Edgerton (3-2) 29 36 — 65
RCW — Scoring: Emily Lippert 10, Avery Roxberg 5, Rachel Jakel 4, Johanna Braun 4, Holly Hinderks 3, Breana Winzenburg 2 ... 3-point shots: Lippert 1 ... Rebound leader: Braun 7 ... Assist leader: Hinderks 3 ... Steal leader: Braun 5 ... Block leader: none
EDGERTON — Stats not available
The Minneota Vikings improved to 3-0 with the hard-fought victory over Minnewaska at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall.
Minneota held a 33-26 halftime lead.
Maddie Thorfinnson had 14 points and three steals for Minnewaska. Brenda Kolstoe added seven points, nine rebounds and three assists for the Lakers.
Minnewaska (0-7) 26 24 — 50
Minneota (3-0) 33 24 — 57
MINNEWASKA — Scoring: Lauryn Ankeny 5, Brooke Kolstoe 7, Sydney Dahl 10, Maddie Thorfinnson 14, Leslie Murken 9, Jayda Kolstoe 5 ... 3-point shots: Ankeny 1, Thorfinnson 4, Murken 3 ... Rebound leader: B. Kolstoe 9 ... Assist leader: B. Kolstoe 3 ... Steal leader: Thorfinnson 3 ... Block leaders: Avery Fier 3, Dahl 3
MINNEOTA — Stats not available
Lac qui Parle Valley improved its record to 6-1 with the victory over Sleepy Eye at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall.
Sleepy Eye is now 4-4.
Brylee Miller pumped in 36 points to lead Fairmont past Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg at the Windom CVB Holiday Tournament.
In the tournament's other first-round game, Windom beat East Central 66-28.
Against Fairmont, Acelynn Hacker had 20 points and six steals for the Fighting Saints.
KMS (5-3) 24 25 — 49
Fairmont (2-1) 39 40 — 79
KMS — Scoring: Izzy Wirth 2, Acelynn Hacker 20, Lilly Ronholdt 2, Savannah Petersen 5, Elsa Gjerde 3, Julia Carlson 5, Josie Gjerde 8, Anissa Demuth 2, Sophia Oerter 2 ... 3-point shots: Hacker 3, E. Gjerde 1, J. Gjerde 2 ... Rebound leader: Carlson 4 ... Assist leaders: Carlson 1, J. Gjerde 1 ... Steal leader: Hacker 6 ... Block leader: none
FAIRMONT — Scoring: Brylee Miller 36, Anna Ehlert 4, Hope Klanderud 3, Grace Pendergast 6, Jazyln Geerdes 2, Abi Cihoski 5, Rubi Reyes 3, Ava Terfehr 6, Neveah Rahm 16 ... 3-point shots: Miller 3, Klanderud 1, Pedergast 1 ... Rebound leader: n/a ... Assist leader: n/a ... Steal leader: n/a ... Block leader: n/a