Central Lakes College men’s head coach Jim Russell was honored Wednesday night for his 300th win on Dec. 14. His players gave him another reason to celebrate with a 70-48 win over Fond Du Lac in the divisional home opener for the Raiders. Despite shooting just 33 percent in the first half, and 2-11 from behind the arc, CLC shot 44 percent in the second half to pull away from the Thunder.
Six weeks ago, head coach Jim Russell and the Central Lakes Raiders were in a strange place with an 0-3 record to start season. A year ago, Kevin Kuefler was on the bench with a torn anterior cruciate ligament cheering on his teammates. Kuefler and the Raiders are in a much different place now. Kuefler’s 21 points led CLC to an 86-78 win over St. Cloud Technical College Saturday in the Winter Classic. The Raiders now have a 7-5 record and are looking to the Northern Division opener Friday against Rainy River.
The scoreboard at the end of the Brainerd Holiday Tournament displayed a sixth-place finish for the Warriors, but is was a successful day for the program and head coach Dave Maras. Maras was honored for 45 years of leading the Brainerd gymnastics programs. That includes starting the girls program 42 years ago, and being the head coach since 1982. On the mat, Rachel Hoffman had two 13th-place finishes. She recorded an 8.75 on the vault, and a 8.70 on the beam. Rebekah Hoffman posted Brainerd’s highest finish with a seventh-place 8.80 on bars.
The fourth game of the season isn’t often labeled a must win game. But the Central Lakes College Raiders, who entered the game with a 1-3 record, were in need of a win and got it as they knocked of undefeated Anoka-Ramsey Rams in an non-division game Friday. The Rams knocked CLC out of the playoffs two years ago and beat the nationally ranked Raiders last year. Sophomore Brandon Davis finished with 18 points and fellow sophomore, Kevin Kuefler, scored 10 as the Raiders shot 52 percent from the floor.
Sometimes the journey can be more important than the result. That was the case for the Central Lakes women’s basketball team in their season opener against Division I opponent Bismarck State. On the scoreboard, the Mystics handled the Raiders by a 78-50 score. They led 46-26 at the half, due mostly to cold shooting from CLC and very good shooting from behind the arc by Bismarck State. Taalyr Egeness led the outside attack for the Raiders with 14 points. The inside tandem of Lindsay Monson and Jalynn Lamb scored 12 and 10 points, respectively.
Change can be a good thing, and the Central Lakes College Raiders will face a lot of it as they prepare to open the 2012-2013 season. The Raiders open on the Brainerd campus in the CLC Fall Classic on Friday night. CLC will play five of its first six games at home, and that could be a crucial time for a team that will be coming together with just three players returning from the 2011-2012 team that finished 8-14 overall .
ST. CLOUD — The No. 1 seeded Central Lakes Raiders hopes for a state championship could have come down to one play in the MCAC state championship game on Sunday afternoon at St. Cloud State University’s Husky Stadium. The Raiders were driving to the No. 2 seeded Rochester Yellowjackets goal line, clinging to a 19-17 lead over the most potent offense in the division.
The Central Lakes College Raiders and Rochester Yellowjackets will combine tradition with redemption. The Yellowjackets will stake their three state championships in five seasons against a hungry Raiders team, which has lost to Rochester two of the last three times the teams have meet in the championship.
When the Central Lakes Raiders look back at their 2012, they may look back at a team huddle before the start of the fifth and deciding game against Mesabi on Friday night. “We were kind of silent for the first minute and a half, and then decided what we needed to do,” said Haley Hornick. “Coach said that we needed to stop their outside hitter and that is what we did.”
T hree feet is the distance between the Central Lakes College Raiders and an undefeated 2012 campaign. While the Raiders can’t get a do-over in their quest for a perfect season, they can gain revenge over the team that caused such a slim margin from perfection.