Men’s College Basketball: Rainy River rallies to top Raiders

The Central Lakes College Raiders hosted Rainy River Saturday, Feb. 4.

Anthony Burch
Anthony Burch

BRAINERD — The Northern Division just got exciting.

The Central Lakes College Raiders could have solidified its hold atop the division Saturday, Feb. 4. Instead Rainy River prevented a season sweep and handed the Raiders a 73-65 loss.

CLC led by 11 points at the half, but the Voyagers outscored the Raiders 45-28 in the second half.

Rainy River used and a nine-point run late, punctuated by a Malik Siggers 3-pointer, to grab a 62-61 lead and built it to 68-61.

"We were just talking about this and that this is what conference competition is all about," Raiders head coach Jim Russell said. "They came in here and really wanted it. We played well for about 25 minutes and we lost our composure when they took the lead. There were some guys that got hurt, including TJ (Kornbaum) who got hurt again and that didn't help the situation any.


“The second half we weren't hitting shots. We were trying. One of the things I didn't like that the conference did was that Rainy River was supposed to play Friday night but didn't. They switched their game to Wednesday and got a huge advantage where we had to play Friday and Saturday. I think it is kind of unfair that they let them do that, but they deserved it. They played hard, kept their composure and kept coming at us."

The Raiders beat Rainy River in International Falls 81-64 Jan 7. After defeating Hibbing Friday, Feb. 3, the Raiders entered Saturday’s game with one division loss -- that coming against Mesabi. After Saturday's action, CLC, Mesabi and Rainy River hold matching 8-2 records.

Kornbaum played 24 minutes Friday against Hibbing after being out for close to a month with an injury. He converted a pass from Langston Binns to give the Raiders an early 6-0 lead, but Kornbaum left the game after diving for a loose ball. Rainy River tied the game at 10, but the Raiders built a nine-point lead at 37-26 on a 3-pointer from Anthony Burch.

It was one of the few bright spots from behind the arc for the Raiders as they finished 4-22 from 3-point range. Burch led the team with 14 points and Binns added 10, but the Raiders shot 39% from the field.

The Raiders led 38-27 at the half, but lost David Hosea with a leg injury just four minutes into the second half. David Felix scored the next two baskets to give CLC a 46-37 lead with 13:21 remaining. Hosea returned in the second half.

Rainy River cut into the Raiders’ lead midway through the second half and had a chance to tie the game at 53, but was turned away at the rim by Felix and a basket from Hosea made it 55-51.

A 3-pointer from Siggers tied the game at 59 with 3:29 remaining. Four free throws by Burch made it 61-59 CLC. Siggers next 3-pointer made it 62-61 and Rainy River didn't look back.

"They were ready and they took away some things we have been working on,” Russell said. “We struggled in the second half shooting the ball and they played great defense. We have done that before where if there is a guard who is doing really well and shooting the ball well we just want him to wear out. I think they did a good job of that against AJ. We tried to rest him a little bit in the first half. It wasn't our game. We needed to get up and down and it turned into a half-court game."


The Raiders and the Voyagers will host Mesabi in the next two weeks.

"It was a good game," Russell said. "We are still learning about each other but we are still in it and tied for the conference lead. We have a few more home games with a couple on the road. We will be okay."

Rainy River 28 45 -- 73

Central Lakes 37 28 -- 65


Steph Mereus 10, Berrian Delinois 14, Butchiny Lordeus 12, Christian Pujals 5, Malik Siggers 14, Tyrecke Francois 10, Ayodimeji Adigum 1, Ondrej Havranek 5, Alexander Aquilar 2. FG 24-73 (33 percent), FT 16-25 (64 percent). 3-point 9-40 (23 percent).


Carrson Jones 7, Anthony Burch 14, Langston Binns 10, TJ Kornbaum 4, Davion Jackson 8, Broden Fleisher 5, David Hosea 7, David Felix 6, Michael Scott 4. FG 21-58 (36 percent), FT 19-26 (73 percent). 3-point 4-22 (18 percent). Division: 8-2. Overall: 14-8. Next: at Fond du Lac Tribal & Community College in Cloquet, 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 8.

What To Read Next
Get Local