The Central Lakes Raiders failed to take advantage of an opportunity to solidify postseason position Saturday with a 52-47 loss to Ridgewater in Brainerd.
Ridgewater’s lone division win came against CLC Jan. 11.
“The team that we lost to only has two division wins and they are both over us,” said Raiders head coach Dennis Eastman. “That is frustrating. I wish I had the magic answer.”
Nikki Pearson finished with 17 points to lead the Raiders and Elizabeth Mattson added 11 points. CLC shot 32 percent for the game and Ridgewater finished at 36 percent.
Down 25-20 late in the first half, the Raiders went on a 10-2 run to secure a 30-27 halftime lead.
CLC failed to build on the lead and Ridgewater took a 43-40 lead at 6:50 in the second half.
Caitlin Robinson’s basket tied the game at 47 with 1:28 left. That would be the last points for CLC as Ridgewater scored the game’s last five points.
“I think the big thing is that we got tired,” Eastman said. “I usually don’t play our starters this long. When everyone is not ready to play, you have to go with what is working, and at that point in the game, what we had in there was working the best.
“We had the flu with about three quarters of our team being sick, but everyone is sick this time of year. We just didn’t have any energy.”
The Raiders are battling for the fourth playoff spot in the Minnesota College Athletic Conference state tournament and Saturday’s loss left them with a 2-5 division record.
“The opportunity is still there,” said Eastman. “We aren’t going to write ourselves off, but we have to figure this out. It’s there for us to take if we want to take it. I just have to find out who wants to take it and go wish that.”
Ridgewater 27 25 — 52
Central Lakes 30 17 — 47
Lynsey Runke 4, Mikell Melius 6, Annie Winter 16, Cameo McNeley 10, Shantel Kelly 8, Alicia Koenen 4, Sam Cunningham 2, Bobbie Uecker 2. FG 21-58 (36 percent). FT 5-11 (46 percent).
Lindsey Roos 2, Caitlin Robinson 5, Elizabeth Johnson 4, Nikki Pearson 17, Elizabeth Mattson 11, Emily Weber 2, Jalynn Lamb 6. FG 18-56 (32 percent). FT 9-13 (69 percent). Overall: 8-11. Division: 2-5.