By: Osirus Washington
Despite the score, the game was a very close one. The Central Lakes College men’s basketball team took on Riverland Friday night in a nail-biter game.
It was very hard for either team to really pull away and get some cushion. At the start, it was a lot of back and forth before CLC went on an 8-2 run with just over 7 minutes remaining in the first half. The Raiders looked to be playing great fundamental ball. Riverland is known for running the score up, but CLC sophomore Shawn Mcgee wasn’t having it. He turned up the defensive intensity on the Riverland guards and forced them out of their offense.
“We need to start playing like this more as a team,” said Mcgee in the locker room after the game.
All night, the Raiders desperately needed to find an answer for Riverland’s Jace Klinkner, who went on a scoring rampage. He scored 23 points on 7-13 from 3, and 8-16 from the field. Despite his great individual performance, it wasn’t enough to win Riverland the game. It was the only hope Riverland had to take the game from CLC, who finally looked to be playing with some intensity as a team. There was positive energy from the first player in the lineup to the last person on the bench.
CLC’s sophomores are really starting to step up and have some big games. TrayVon Lackey, Shawn Mcgee and Lamontrell Fuller played over 25 minutes and produced at a high level. Fuller scored 15 points and added 8 rebounds and 2 blocks. Mcgee had his best game yet, scoring 11 points and adding 4 rebounds to 2 assists. Prior to this game, Mcgee hadn’t scored in double figures. TJ Kornbaum also added 14 points and 7 rebounds off the bench.
The Raiders are looking promising with leadership, toughness, and intensity. Mcgee and Nick Wiesmann are the vocal leaders in the locker room, while Lackey and Fuller are doing more one on ones and leading by example. Coach Jim Russell has challenged his team to go to the boards and hustle harder than Lackey. A team who challenges each other and makes each other better can only improve and have countless rewards.
Look for the Raiders to keep improving going into the second half of the season and conference play.