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First games tonight

The 2011-12 Central Lakes College basketball season starts at Thief River Falls tonight (Tues., Nov. 8), when the Raiders battle the Northland Pioneers. Gametime is 6 p.m. for the women and 8 p.m. for the men. The CLC women have more veterans than they had at this time last season, Five sophomores are on the 11-player roster announced by Coach Dennis Eastman. All are from the local area: Milaca to New York Mills. Nikki Pearson is the only returning CLC starter from a team that went 8-19. Northland has one returning starter from a team that was 15-13 last year. The CLC men are coming off a 26-3 record season — most wins ever in a single season — but they would like to go further than they did last season, when they lost to Anoka-Ramsey in the semi-finals of the state tournament. Coach Jim Russell has 17 players on the roster, which is the most ever. Their goal: the NJCAA tournament. Kwamaine Johnson (pictured) is the lone returning CLC starter. Northland returns 3 starters from a 19-9 season.

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