Men’s College Basketball: Raiders win North and a No. 1 seed

Central Lakes College's Beau Bailey goes up for a dunk Saturday, Feb. 23, against Rainy River at CLC. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

The nets were cut down Saturday, Feb. 22 at Central Lakes College as the Raiders won another Northern Division title, finishing the regular season 23-4 overall with an 18-game winning streak.

The Raiders also got a taste of what competition might like at next week’s state tournament as Rainy River kept things close until CLC pulled away for a 92-76 win.

The Voyagers entered with their playoff fate hanging in the balance. A loss by Lake Superior College ended up clinching a spot for Rainy River.

“I thought it was a great match-up with Rainy River needing to win to make sure that they get in,” said Raiders head coach Jim Russell. “Their coach did a phenomenal job on a game plan and I am kind of curious why other teams haven’t done that. Our guys showed a lot of patience and battled through it and that is what it will be like at the state tournament.”

With a perfect 16-0 record in division play, the Raiders get the No. 1 seed out of the Northern Division. Rainy River claims the No. 4 spot.


Playing in his final home game, CLC’s Josh Arnold scored 31 points and led the team with nine rebounds. Beau Bailey hit for 15 points and Tyree’on Johnson collected 14.

Rainy River played a zone defense that was packed in the lane making scoring from the interior difficult. The game was tied at 17 at the 10:00 minute mark of the first half. A layup from Arnold pushed the Raiders lead out to 26-17 before the Voyagers closed the gap to 38-31 at the half.

Rainy River’s Faizon Francis hit a layup early in the second to close to 42-40. Two free throws by Johnson pushed the lead out to 46-40.

CLC’s Javere Salter made it 55-48 with a layup and two free throws by Kameron Givens pushed the lead to 57-48.
A 3-point shot from Arnold with eight minutes left pushed the lead to nine points and the Raiders went on to 92-76 win.

The sophomore class finished off a two-year run of 31-1 in division play.

Arnold and Johnson were key players in the starting lineup, but Brandon Burggraff and Gavin Smith were asked to take on different roles after seeing significant minutes in their first year.

“It says a lot about the program that there are new guys coming in every year and as a returning player you have to know that your role may change,” said Burggraff who finished with five points and four rebounds in his final home game. “You have to buy in as a team to what coach Russell is saying and I think that is really a testament to the program, the players that he brings in.”

Smith tallied two points, a steal and a block coming off the bench Saturday.


Last year the Raiders won the state tournament and scored an upset in the opening round of the NJCAA Divison III national tournament in Rochester before finishing fourth. “It has been a great experience for me,” Arnold said of playing at CLC. “Our goal is not over and we still have a couple of goals ahead of us that we are looking forward to.”

That will start Friday, Feb 21, with a matchup against Southern Division No. 4 seed Ridgewater. CLC beat the Spartans 106-88 Jan. 4 in Brainerd.

“They have battled all year and I think they have gotten better,” said Russell. “Every position they have is a threat and it is going to be a battle for us. They made a big improvement this year and we are looking forward to it.

“If you look at all the teams in the tournament this year all but one or two of them have 20 plus wins this year and three of those teams have been ranked all year and I think there will be phenomenal matchups and we will be ready to go.”

For more photos, go to .

Rainy River 31 45 -- 76
Central Lakes 38 54 -- 92

Isaiah Woodstock 5, TJ O’Connor 24, Faizon Francis 9, De’Andre Morris 4, Eugene Barnes 5, Fabian Figueroa 6, Jerry William 12, Nehemiah Harrigan 2, Leomar Castillo 2, Trey Winkler 7. FG 29-64 (45%), FT 8-10 (80%). 3-point 10-24 (42%).


Zion Sanford 1, Josh Arnold 31, Javere Salter 7, Kameron Givens 6, Gavin Smith 2, Beau Bailey 15, Linoel Warner 7, Tyler Baribeau 4, Brandon Burggraff 5, Tyree’on Johnson 14. FG 29-63 (46%), FT 27-34 (79%). 3-point 7-25 (28%). Division: 16-0. Overall: 23-4. Next: MCAC State Tournament at Anoka-Ramsey, 5:00 p.m. Friday, Feb. 28.

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