By PATRICK SLACK
In the first of two showdowns with defending Prairie Conference champion Long Prairie-Grey Eagle (LPGE), Upsala dominated the second half en route to an 81-61 runaway win, Friday.
The host Cardinals carried a 37-30 lead into the half, then outscored the Thunder 44-31 the rest of the way to sail to the win and improve to 2-0 on the season.
Six players scored at least seven points for Upsala’s balanced attack, led in double figures by senior Garrett Wolf (19), junior Christian Pekarek (17) and seniors Avery Smieja (13) and Nick Frieler (12).
Senior Matt Abeler and junior Dylan Zimmerman each added seven points, with seniors Eric Frieler and Andy Nelson chipping in three apiece.
Smieja hauled in a team-high 10 rebounds to post a double-double, with Wolf distributing seven assists and Pekarek recording five steals.
Upsala hosts Pine River-Backus, Thursday.
Upsala 81, Long Prairie-Grey Eagle 61
LPGE 30 31 – 61
Upsala 37 44 – 81
Upsala—Garrett Wolf, 19 (7 rebounds, 6 assists); Christian Pekarek, 17 (5 steals, 4 rebounds); Avery Smieja, 13 (10 rebounds); Nick Frieler, 12; Matt Abeler, 7; Dylan Zimmerman, 7 (8 rebounds); Eric Frieler, 3 (4 assists); Andy Nelson, 3.