BARROWS — Lexi Gallagher and Tim Johnson each won feature events for the second weekend in a row at North Central Speedway on Saturday night. Gallagher engaged in a great duel with Drue Fletcher in the Hornet feature as the two drivers traded top spots throughout the race. When the dust settled at the finish, Gallagher was the winner. Tim Johnson is driving in a Street Stock and Super Stock car at the speedway this year and he’s been dominant in both.
For the Central Lakes College Raiders, their season has come down to three days this weekend. The MCAC/Region 13 Tournament runs Friday through Sunday and offers the opportunity to one team out of eight competing to earn a trip to the national tournament in New York. The Raiders, who are seeded No. 2 in the Northern Division, have stumbled down the stretch, losing their last two home games and playing .500 basketball the last two weeks.
The Central Lakes College men’s basketball team has been on a roll, having won their last four games since a 26 point loss to Mesabi at Virginia back in January. While that loss may have been a low point for the Raiders, they bounced back and have now won five straight following a 78-62 win Wednesday night over Mesabi. With the win CLC also took over sole possession of second place in the Northern Division.
The Central Lakes College Raiders completed their first week of Northern Division play with a 2-0 record after wins over Fond du Lac on Wednesday and a 76-62 victory over Itasca on Saturday. The Raiders clamped down defensively in the second half to widen a lead of just four points at halftime against an Itasca team that had won just one game all season. John Jedneak led the Raiders with 17 points, and Alex Koch finished with 14. Danon Briggs also made it into double figures with 11 points for CLC.
ST CLOUD — The Central Lakes Raiders quest for a state championship fell short Sunday as they were done in by miscues and missed opportunities in a 27-14 loss to the Rochester Yellowjackets at Husky Stadium in St. Cloud. With the loss the Raiders, ranked No. 11 in the nation, fell to 9-2, while the Yellowjackets, ranked 12 in the nation, finished 10-1 and claimed their fourth straight title. Central Lakes outgained Rochester 350-219, but also turned the ball over five times with two of those turnovers turning into touchdowns for the Yellowjackets.
A year ago, the Central Lakes College Raiders were beaten in straight sets by Northland in the Region 13 North championship game. They watched as the Pioneers celebrated on CLC’s home court. On Saturday, the No. 1 seeded Raiders made sure that would not happen again as they defeated No. 2 Northland in three games to earn their trip to the NJCAA Division III tournament in Rochester. The Raiders entered the game ranked second nationally, while the Pioneers had a sixth place ranking.
The 2013-2014 Central Lakes College men’s basketball season will be a time for new beginnings for head coach Jim Russell and his team as they start by hosting Bismarck State at 3 p.m. this Sunday. Russell begins his 17th season with an overall record of 314-129. Just one starter returns from a Raider team that uncharacteristically lost their first two playoff games at the state tournament last spring after finishing the season with an overall record of 19-7, and a Northern Division record of 12-2. Only Mesabi was better with a division record of 13-1.
There is a common saying in sports that you don’t want to wake a sleeping giant. However, you may have a problem if the giant is wide awake when it meets you. That is what the Itasca Vikings had to face on Friday night as the Central Lakes College Raiders came out strong after an eight day lay off and put away the Vikings in three straight sets, 25-12, 25-9, and 25-20.
THIEF RIVER FALLS — The Central Lakes College Raiders are returning to the MCAC state championship game thanks to a dominant defensive performance and another solid day from their offense as they defeated Northland 33-6 on a sunny Saturday afternoon. CLC allowed the Pioneers just 140 total yards of offense, and held them off the scoreboard until the 7-minute mark of the fourth quarter. Offensively, CLC totaled 395 yards, including 295 through the air from quarterback Andrew Johnson.
Three weeks ago host Central Lakes College Raiders found themselves in a 27-7 first half hole against Minnesota West. They were able to extricate themselves from that to win 50-39. The Raiders, seeded second in the Southern Dvision, made sure that much drama would not be needed in the rematch as they put 32 points on the scoreboard in the first half and came away with a 55-26 win Saturday in their state quarterfinal game against the Blue Jays, seeded third in the South.