Central Lakes College freshman guard Caleb Nurnberger realized late in the Raiders' game against Milwaukee Area Technical College that something was wrong.
Looking down he realized that he had been playing the entire game with his uniform shorts on backwards.
After Nurnberger came off the bench to score 15 points and lead the Raiders in a 100-46 victory over Milwaukee in the opening game of the CLC Invitational his teammates may not let him wear his shorts correctly again.
Nurnberger shot 5-for-8 from behind the three-point arc and led an offensive outburst that saw the Raiders take a 64-25 lead at halftime.
"I noticed that my pants were on backwards with about six minutes to go in the second half," Nurnberger said. "I think maybe I will have to do it every game. It worked.
"I really have to give it to my teammates. I really wouldn't have been open if it weren't for them. They really worked their tails off. All I did was shoot the ball. It doesn't take much to do that."
CLC shot 57 percent from the field, 54 percent from behind the arc. The only part of the offensive effort that wasn't pleasing to coach Jim Russell was at the free throw line where the Raiders were only 9-25.
It was one of the few areas where the Raiders struggled. Their defensive intensity and balanced scoring contributed to the victory. CLC brought heavy defensive pressure to start the game against a Milwaukee team that never seemed to feel comfortable in an offensive set.
"That's our whole purpose," Russell said. "We have one more preseason game, with our conference season starting after that. Our whole idea this game was to build on what we have been doing and we made a statement that defense has always been our priority. I think that showed. When you put that kind of pressure on the ball it is hard for people to run their offense."
In the first half, Milwaukee couldn't manage a run of more than three points while the Raiders had spurts of seven, 12 and 10. CLC had five players in double figures, led by Nurnberger. Sutan Burris and Erik Peeters had 14, C.J. Peeters 13 and Quentin Wilford 12.
Nurnberger's scoring and defense off the bench are a key part of the Raiders' game. It's a product of his basketball upbringing at Staples-Motley.
"Caleb came out of Staples and they have great basketball and good fundamentals," Russell said. "All he had to do was slow down, set his feet and the guys are starting to find him.
"Caleb does give us a spark because he's aggressive and he's really a little sparkplug. He puts his heart out there."
Nurnberger knows that playing with intensity is a big part of getting minutes during his freshman season.
"It's one of coach's major things," Nurnberger said of playing defense. "We have to have that intensity and the feeling that every time out is a new game, try hard and play as a team."
Friday's victory was Russell's 200th in 10-plus seasons at CLC. He credited those who have played for him, as well as a supportive administration and community, for the accomplishment.
"The players are the ones that get the Ws and this is a lot about our commitment, the school and the administration, for how they support our athletics, and the community as well with a nice crowd tonight with the weather," Russell said.
"Something that I tell the guys every game is treat it as something special, an opportunity to play," he added. "You have to have that kind of attitude to carry over and we have a lot of confidence going into our next game.
"We can always find something to improve on. The bottom line in any sport is effort and these kids are giving me great effort. I can't ask for anything more than that."
Milwaukee 25 21 - 46
Central Lakes 64 36 - 100
Will King 2, Shaun Kuffel 4, Pierre Reynolds 9, Patrick Blunt 8, Brendan Brown 14, Donny Hudson 4, Eddie Lockert 5. Three-point baskets: Reynolds 2, Brown, Lockett.
Sutan Burris 14, Quentin Wilford 12, Caleb Nurnberger 15, Scott Herold 4, Erik Peeters 14, Kyle Mickelson 3, Will Kornbaum 6, Dusty Parker 6, C.J. Peeters 13, Brandon Stenger 2, Dustin Monson 7, Ryan Peeters 3, Lalo Bellamy 1. Three-point baskets: Burris 2, Wilford 2, Nurnberger 5, Erik Peeters 3, Parker 2, C.J. Peeters. Overall: 8-3. Next: host Gogebic at 4 p.m. Saturday.
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