Men’s College Basketball: Raiders win big over Vermilion for 3rd-straight victory
Central Lakes College hosts Vermilion Jan. 26
BRAINERD — In an empty gym, against a winless team, the Central Lakes College Raiders got it done in a game that actually didn’t end Wednesday, Jan. 26.
The Raiders had secured their third win in a row with a 99-67 win over Vermilion in a Northern Division game.
Quamar Gresham, last week’s MCAC Northern Division player of the week, led the Raiders in scoring with 20 points and four assists.
Zaa Buffalo and Jalen Dearring tallied 17 points and David Felix secured three rebounds and CLC shot 51% for the game.
Last Saturday, Jan. 15 the Raiders traveled to undefeated Rainy River and were defeated by the league leaders 67-49, their lowest scoring output of the year. They responded with wins at Mesabi and Itasca before returning home to face the Ironmen.
“It was a reset. As a coach I needed to do that and I needed to take the lead,” Raiders head coach Jim Russell said. “We started listening and playing better. We shared the ball better and our defense is improving. It is a big learning process through a lot of adversity with something different going on every day. We just need to keep our heads up and keep going and some of our leaders are starting to come through.”
The alumni band played to the empty house as fans were not allowed in the gym for the contest. It created a more scrimmage-like atmosphere that saw the Ironmen jump out to a 7-4 lead but the Raiders tied it on a three-pointer from Gresham and then went on a 13-point run to take a 20-7 lead.
Vermilion, looking for their first win of the season, hung in the game for most of the first half trailing by just three points at 33-30 with 5:19 left but the Raiders scored 14 straight points to lead 47-30 and they took a 49-31 lead to the locker room.
At halftime, Russell focused on being more vocal on defense with his players and the Raiders were able to increase the lead to 19 points on a shot from Buffalo and then pushed the lead to 71-45 with 10:38 left.
CJ Davenport finished with six points and Derek Aeilts added five off the bench.
Late in the game as the Raiders reserves looked to close out the game and leading 99-67, a decision to attempt a dunk with three seconds remaining resulted in a hard foul from Vermilion and tempers flared between the two teams. The officials decided to send both teams to the locker room and end the game.
A fitting ending to a strange night.
“I told the guys before the game, ‘what is an 0-15 team supposed to be like?’ I don’t know,” said Russell. “I told them it was going to be a hard game to play and we just had to worry about ourselves and for me to coach. It is tough to be in that situation and you don’t want to be there but (Gresham) and Zaa are playing well.”
Vermilion 31 36 — 67
Central Lakes 49 50 — 99
Kengi Bryant 12, Ronald Ducros 7, Jalen Easton 12, De’Vonta Roberts 2, AJ Taylor 5, J’Sean Banks 18, Teris Consonery 9, Tyrese Rogers 2. FG 21-56 (38%), FT 15-29 (52%). 3-point 10-24 (42%).
Hunter Nissen 6, Jalen Dearring 17, Josh Lewis 7, Quamar Gresham 20, CJ Davenport 9, Traveon Jones 6, Evan Hoy 2, Isaiah Williams 4, Zaa Buffalo 17, Derek Aeilts 8, David Felix 3. FG 37-73 (51%), FT 15-25 (60%). 3-point 10-26 (39%). Division: 5-2. Overall: 9-10. Next: at Hibbing 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 29.