Redwood Valley tops Windom Area in Big South battle

Needing a win to end a three-game skid, the Redwood Valley boys basketball team got a memorable performance from senior Mitch Irlbeck to lead the team to a 79-65 win over visiting Windom Area Thursday night in Redwood Falls.

Irlbeck joined an elite club by scoring his 1,000th career point with less than eight minutes to play in the first half. He would finish 8-of-8 from the charity stripe on the way to a game-high 33 points and nine rebounds.

The Cardinals (8-8) got off to a flying 17-3 lead thanks to some great perimeter shooting. The Eagles (11-7) would rally, however, cutting the lead to as little as two before the Cards regrouped and went into the halftime break leading 45-36.

The Cardinal offense cooled off in the second half but held the Eagles to just 30 percent shooting on the night (22-of-73) to come away with the key Big South Conference win.

Redwood Valley struggled from beyond the arc after a strong start (5-of-23) but were 16-of-19 from the charity stripe and shot 41 percent from the floor overall.

Cole Woodford finished with 14 points, seven rebounds and four steals, Kyle Huhnerkoch had 11 points, five rebounds and two steals and Payton Nelson knocked down a pair of three pointers to finish with six points and three rebounds. Bronson Smith was 3-for-3 from the floor on the way to six points and two rebounds, Deo Charles added four points and seven rebounds and Logan Josephson had two points and a team-high 12 rebounds.

Luke Gilbertson led the Eagles with 28 points and seven rebounds, and Wyatt Minion had 14 points and four boards.

Redwood Valley currently sits in fourth place in the Section 3AA-North standings but is just points away from second place and already sports a win over top-seed Minnewaska Area (11-5). Fairmont (11-4) is atop the Section 3AA-South half followed closely by Pipestone Area (10-7), Windom Area (11-7) and Jackson County Central (10-6).

The Cardinals will host a good BOLD squad Tuesday in a non-conference battle.

Redwood Valley 79,  Windom Area 65

Cardinal scoring - Irlbeck 33, Woodford 14, Huhnerkoch 11, Nelson 6, Smith 6, Charles 4, Josephson 2

Eagle scoring - Gilbertson 28, Minion 14, Dalton Smith 7, Ryan Franz 4, Eric Pfeffer 4, Kaden Elder 4, Kobe Lovell 3, Dylan Colbert 1