Jan. 28—WILLMAR — Avery Christensen paced the Willmar boys basketball team to its second victory of the season against Brooklyn Center in Saturday's matinee game.
Christensen scored a game-high 27 points as the Cardinals fended off Brooklyn Center late in their 62-61 victory at the Big Red Gym. Willmar is 2-14 and the Centaurs are 2-13.
Christensen, a sophomore, scored 16 of his 27 points in the first half. That effort helped Willmar take a 27-24 lead into halftime.
In the opening minutes out of the break, Christensen and senior Tucker Swanson got the Cardinals off on a role. Christensen scored six more points and Swanson recorded nine of his 11 points off of three three-pointers in that stretch, giving Willmar a 48-32 lead with 13 minutes, 9 seconds remaining.
But the Centaurs wouldn't give in. Brooklyn Center went on a 20-9 run in the final 8:29 seconds of the second half before falling short of a double figure comeback.
Brooklyn Center had three scorers that reached double digits in scoring. Steven Nzimi had 21 points, followed by 17 from Deshaun Pongsak and 14 from Avell Ross-Washington.
Willmar got 11 points from Cooper Schnichels. The 6-foot-6 eighth-grader also had eight rebounds.
The Cardinals next play host to Sauk Rapids at 7:15 p.m. Tuesday at Willmar.
Dawson-Boyd (No. 2 in Class A) had three scorers reach at least 20 points in its win against New Life Academy at the High School for Recording Arts in St. Paul.
Gunner Liebl led the Blackjacks with a triple-double. The 6-foot sophomore guard scored 28 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and dished out 10 assists. He also had four steals.
Brayson Boike had a double-double for Dawson-Boyd. The 6-foot-7 junior guard had 30 points and 14 rebounds with four assists, two blocks and a pair of steals.
Drew Hjelmeland, a 6-foot-6 junior forward, notched 21 points. He added five assists, two blocks and, two rebounds a steal for the Blackjacks.
Dawson-Boyd (17-1) plays Yellow Medicine East at 7:30 p.m. Monday at Granite Falls.
Jack Gross led BOLD to a conference victory over Minnewaska at Bird Island.
Gross, the 6-foot-5 junior guard, had 35 points. He added eight rebounds, five steals, two assists and a block.
Providing secondary support for the Warriors was William Penkert, a 6-foot-3 junior center who scored 13 points, and Hudson Vosika, a 5-foot-11 junior guard who notched eight points.
For Minnewaska, sophomore guard/forward Marc Gruber had 15 points. Dylan Alexander added 12 points and Tenzin Dahl tacked on nine more.
"We battled hard for 36 minutes, but we missed on some key baskets down the stretch," Lakers head coach Zachary Traphagen said. "I'm very proud of the effort. These guys work so hard."
BOLD is 4-3 in the West Central Conference and 11-6 overall. The Lakers are 1-7 in conference play and 1-15 overall.
The Warriors go to Benson at 7 p.m. Monday. Minnewaska plays host to Montevideo at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Glenwood.