Women’s College Basketball: Raiders keep hopes alive for postseason

Lillee Hardee

Three games and two bus trips were part of a challenging week for the Central Lakes Raiders.

A Wednesday loss to Mesabi put their playoff hopes on life support, but a dramatic win at Hibbing Friday, Feb. 7, gave CLC life. Playing through fatigue, the Raiders overcame an early deficit to defeat Vermilion 71-54 Saturday, Feb. 8, in Brainerd.

The Raiders now control their destiny. With wins against Itasca and Rainy River in their last two games, CLC will make the region playoffs for the third straight season.

“It is our third game in a week with two bus trips and we definitely came out a little slow,” Central Lakes head coach Brian Voigt said. “We just needed to get moving again and I think we responded well. We battled through and figured out our defense and we were able to clamp down on Vermilion.”

The Ironwomen hit the first three buckets and led 21-16 at the end of the first quarter. CLC clawed its way back in the second quarter and a steal and layup from Haley Youngbauer tied the game at 26 with just over seven minutes left in the half. The Raiders went on a 15-10 run to secure a 41-36 halftime edge


Youngbauer finished with 16 points, eight rebounds, four assists and five steals.

“She definitely has become our true point guard,” teammate Lillee Hardee said. “In the beginning, we didn’t have one, but she is our press breaker and has done really well.”

Voigt agreed: “She had to knock off some rust. She was in school last year and playing softball and we kept trying to get her to play. It was about her getting comfortable, but now she is getting that understanding of when to go and who to get the ball to. Last night and today she was distributing the ball really well and getting her open shots.”

In the second half, Maggi Fellerman picked up her fourth foul and spent the rest of the quarter on the bench. CLC responded holding the Ironwomen without a field goal to take a 51-38 lead at the end of the third quarter.

Hardee scored seven of her team-leading 26 points in the third quarter with Fellerman on the bench. Hardee finished just 3-15 from behind the arc so she changed her approach.

“I needed to keep shooting, but in a different way,” Hardee said. “When the 3-pointers aren’t working, I need to start driving and that is kind of the mentality that I had and it worked for us.”

Once again, Voigt agreed: “I hope that voice in her head is never telling her to stop shooting,” he said. “My philosophy with basketball is that our better players have to shoot and if that comes down to getting 30 shots in a game and doing different things because of how the game is going that is what it is going to take. Early in the game, she needed to drive because the outside shot wasn’t falling.”

A 7-2 run in the fourth quarter and six points from Paige Wallevand put the game away. Kali Mammenga added 15 points and Wallevand played through a sore foot to grab 10 rebounds. Fellerrman finished with 11 rebounds and Megan Lanhart gave CLC 19 minutes off of the bench.


“We still had a lot of energy from that awesome win Friday, but we were still tired from the amount of work that we had to do against Hibbing,” Hardee said. “Maybe we thought today would be a little easier and we played a little tired, but we found our energy in the second half.”

Vermilion 21 15 2 16 -- 54
Central Lakes 16 25 10 20 -- 71

Shawna Butler 22, Alexis Hughes 2, Lauren Huchel 5, Alanna Sjoberg 2, Jade Evans 1, Terri Sutton 22. FG 21-72 (29%), FT 7-16 (44%). 3-point 5-22 (23%).

Haley Youngbauer 16, Megan Lanhart 1, Lillee Hardee 26, Paige Wallevand 6, Maggi Fellerman 7, Kali Mammenga 15. FG 29-82 (35%), FT 6-12 (50%). 3-point 7-30 (23%). Division: 6-6. Overall: 8-14. Next: hots Itasca 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 12.
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