It was payback time Saturday.
The Central Lakes Raiders entered Saturday’s game against Minnesota West with a chip on their shoulders and walked away with a 101-53 victory.
Minnesota West handed CLC its first loss Jan. 25 by a score of 63-61.
On Saturday, the Raiders led 47-26 at halftime and outscored the Blue Jays 54-27 in the second half.
Kwamaine Johnson scored a team-high 17 points, but six Raiders scored in double figures.
Maurice Hernandez finished with 16 points followed by Brandon Davis’ 15, Ronnie Kornbaum’s 14 and Michael Farrington’s 12.
The Raiders shot 54 percent from the field, and held Minnesota West to 34 percent.
The 48-point spread was a sign of a “get back to basics” philosophy for the NJCAA’s fourth-ranked Raiders.
“Everyone came into practice thinking that we had to go hard and we did,” said Raiders sophomore Alonzo Williams. “It was either battle hard or go home and that is what we did this week. Everyone came in with a chip on their shoulder today. We needed this win. We knew they were going to play hard, but we came to win.”
Williams is part of a bench that outscored the Blue Jays’ bench 27-12.
“The games that we lost, our bench scored six to eight points,” Russell said. “We can’t have that and they don’t want that. The bench has got to be ready to go and that is what we stressed all week. It was nice to see all of the guys getting back to that habit of playing good defense.”
Williams was one of those players. In 18 minutes he recorded four assists and two rebounds, but had no turnovers.
“We had some struggles with the bench because of guys not knowing their roles,” Williams said. “For myself coming here and sitting on the bench, I wasn’t used to that. But we need to play like the starters and play together.”
The Raiders outscored the Blue Jays 32-8 on points-off-of-turnovers.
“We had a lot to prove and I wanted to make sure that we got back to our old ways,” Russell said. “We create the tempo and we play the game that we want to play. That’s why it was intense all week because we are running the floor and making great passes with what I believe is one of the best point guards in the conference in Michael Farrington.”
CLC’s Farrington added seven assists and for steals.
With one win in the next two games, the Raiders will secure the top-seed in the Minnesota College Athletic Conference state tournament.
Minnesota West 26 27 — 53
Central Lakes 47 54 — 101
Luke Roddy 10, Alan Green 8, Myler Neal 7, Mitch Hopkins 14, Devontray Heard 4, Mitchell Olson 9, Jimmy Sabastiano 1. FG 21-61 (34 percent). FT 8-17 (47 percent). Division: 4-5. Overall: 10-12.
Michael Farrington 12, Ronnie Kornbaum 14, Maurice Hernandez 16, Roberto Lopez 3, Kwamaine Johnson 17, Brandon Davis 15, Matt Christenson 3, Jesse Fleming 10, Brent Koehler 9, Antonio Wigfall 2. FG 38-70 (54 percent). FT 15-20 (75 percent). Division: 8-2. Overall: 23-2. Next: at Minnesota State, Fergus Falls, 8 p.m. Wednesday.