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Men's College Basketball: Rock Valley rallies to bump Raiders. CLC drops into 3rd-place game

Al-Jureau Ray

ROCHESTER—No. 5 seeded Rock Valley outscored the Central Lakes College Raiders 43-28 in the second half and posted a 68-62 victory in the National Junior College Athletic Association semifinals Friday, March 16.

The Golden Eagles received 16 points each from Ja'Quan Chestnut and Nana Kodom-Ayensu as the team hit 38.8 percent from the field after finishing the first half at just 27 percent.

"We kept changing things up in the first half to keep them off balance," Raiders head coach Jim Russell said. "The only way you can change things up defensively is if you make buckets and in the second half we didn't make any. We just couldn't do the same thing in the second half.

"We just couldn't make a bucket. Usually in a college game, if we hold somebody under 70 points we're going to win the game. We didn't get any easy buckets. We didn't get any fast-break buckets in the second half."

The Raiders owned a 34-25 halftime lead and built it to 12 after an Al-Jureau Ray 3-pointer early in the second half.

Then it was all Rock Valley.

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Rock Valley 68, Central Lakes 62

  • Key: Rock Valley outscored CLC 43-28 in the second half
  • Overall: CLC 26-5, RV 24-6
  • Next: Central Lakes vs. Riverland in third-place game of NJCAA Division III National Tournament at Rochester 5 p.m. Saturday, March 16

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With CLC leading 45-35, the Golden Eagles went on a 15-6 run to cut the deficit to 51-50 with 9:30 remaining. Chestnut started the streak with a tip in and added five more points in that span.

A Brayden Hennis' 3-pointer at 7:43 gave the Golden Eagles a 53-31 edge, their first lead of the second half.

Hennis' second 3 at 5:39 handed Rock Valley it's largest lead of the second half at 65-55.

"I think the thing that says it all is how we shot free throws," Russell said. "We would get the ball inside and we would miss and miss and miss and get fouled. Then we would miss our free throws. It was just one of those nights."

CLC shot just 55.6 percent (15-27) from the line.

Chris Buckley and Ray each scored nine second-half points and finished with 15 points each. That accounted for 18 of CLC's 25 second-half points.

"They were a solid defensive team," Russell said. "Even when we ran offense we never got anything easy. We got some shots off, but we just couldn't make anything.

"We were down six and had a beautiful inbounds play for a wide open 3 and we missed it.."

The Raiders opened up a 34-25 halftime edge by holding the Golden Eagles to 27.8 percent (10-of-36) shooting from the field. Rock Valley was just 2-of-12 from 3-point.

The Raiders shot 34 percent from the field, but dominated the paint. CLC received 10 points in the paint compared to six from Rock Valley. The Raiders also outrebounded the Golden Eagles 23-21.

Tyree'on Johnson led the first-half offensive attack with eight points and nine rebounds. He finished with 14 points and 16 rebounds. JaQuavius Hayes added seven points and Buckley and Ray each scored six first half points.

Brandon Burggraff contributed five points on 2-of-3 shooting from the field.

CLC will hope to rally against Riverland in the third-place game 5 p.m. Saturday, March 16.

"I think (Saturday) is about a lot of pride," Russell said. "They're in the same situation, too. It's tough game to play after you lose. It's all about pride Saturday."

Rock Valley 25 43—68

Central Lakes 34 28—62

ROCK VALLEY

Josiah Patton 13, Brandon Taylor 4, Charles Burnell 2, Ja'Quan Chestnut 16, Nana Kodom-Ayensu 16, Josh Streeter 8, Brayden Hennis 6, Kaveon Rogers 3. FG 26-67 (38.8 percent), FT 8-13 (61.5 percent). 3-point 8-27 (29.6 percent).

CENTRAL LAKES

Chris Buckley 15, Josh Arnold 1, Malik Kelly 1, JaQuavius Hayes 9, Kelvin Harris 2, Al-Jureau Ray 15, Tyree'on Johnson 14, Brandon Burggraff 5. FG 20-66 (30.3 percent), FT 15-27 (55.6 percent). 3-point 7-27 (25.9 percent).