Fergus Falls vs. Alexandria

7:15 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 3

With a combined 17-1 record to start the season, and with long winning streaks to preserve, Fergus Falls and Alexandria have started the season in impressive fashion. Each should be extra motivated to win Thursday, when the teams clash with the winner gaining a significant leg up in the Central Lakes Conference title race.

Fergus Falls lost its Nov. 27 season opener 50-47 to Albany. Since then, the Otters (8-1, 5-0) have won every game — and in a pretty comfortable manner: They defeated Brainerd by seven (Dec. 13), and they’ve won their other seven games by an average of 27.3 points.

Ellie Colbeck has shown a knack for scoring this season, racking up a season-high 20 points against Detroit Lakes in a 71-42 win. Colbeck and the Otters will be looking to that offense to counter the Cardinals' tough defense and hand their rival their first loss of the season.

Alexandria can reach double-digit victories on the season with a win that could also jumpstart a Central Lakes title run, something the team was unable to accomplish a year ago after finishing one game behind Willmar.

The No. 1-3A Cardinals (9-0, 5-0) have held opponents to fewer than 40 points four times this season, which could be the key to victory for an opportunistic defense. Cate Bloom, McKenzie Duwenhoegger and Mia McGrane have all had five-steal games this season, and they’ll be looking to create turnovers on Thursday.