Quentin Wilford was named Northern Division men's basketball player of the week Tuesday by the Minnesota College Athletic Conference.
The 6-foot freshman point guard from Chicago celebrated that honor and maybe took a step toward repeating next week as the Central Lakes College Raiders drilled the Itasca Vikings 94-49 in the division opener for both teams Wednesday.
"I give it all to my teammates," Wilford said of his reaction to the honor. "Actually, when coach told me it was a shock to me because I just go out and play hard. I do what he tells me to do, and it always turns out good, so I keep doing it. I can't do anything else but good if I listen to my coach."
Wilford sank all five of his shots and added two free throws for 14 points. More importantly, he dished out eight assists.
CLC 94, Itasca 49
The key: The Raiders shot 58.3 percent from the field.
Division: CLC 1-0, Ita 0-1
Overall: CLC 10-3, Ita 2-9
Next: CLC at Mesabi 3 p.m. Saturday.
"Coach makes me big on it," Wilford said of assists. "I like setting up other players on the floor. I wanted to be a scorer first, but I look for my teammates all the time now. That's the big thing that I'm taking up. I think it will take us a long way, my being a point guard."
Wilford's unselfishness spread the offense around as Caleb Nurnberger and C.J. Peeters each scored 14 points. Off the bench, Bam Glover added 15 and Ryan Peeters 10.
"The thing about him is every night he shows up and plays," Raiders coach Jim Russell said of Wilford. "We stress defense. I tell you what. If you don't play as hard as he does you're in trouble. He automatically brings leadership to the court so that's one thing we love about him.
"The other thing is he takes good shots. If you're not ready to guard him he's going to go by you. Being a true point guard, that's what this team needs. It's been a good battle for us to find a player like him, with his athletic ability, but also his dedication to play the game right. That's hard to find."
CLC's talent and depth made it hard for Itasca to do anything right. The Vikings shot just 33.8 percent, were outrebounded 45-28 and committed 21 turnovers.
Fourteen Raiders played (all but two scored) while Itasca had only eight in uniform. CLC shot 58.3 percent from the field, and won its fifth straight game.
In the first half the Raiders overwhelmed Itasca with 70-percent shooting (21-30) as Glover collected 13 points and Wilford 12. The half was punctuated by thunder dunks by Sutan Burris and C.J. Peeters, who slammed another in the second half.
"We pounded it inside," Russell said. "They couldn't hold us inside. That was our plan.
"Think about it. I've got Bam coming off the bench who went 7-for-7 from the field. C.J. does a lot of little things that people miss out on, like blocking shots (3), rebounds (2) and assists (4). We have some depth and some good balance."
Itasca 20 29 - 49
Central Lakes 52 41 93
Anthony Howard 9, Matt Petersen 10, LaVance Dixon 2, Jemaal Amos-Demmaj 16, Derek Parks 6, Roland Willis 2, Justin Niemann 2, Al Fitzgerald 2. FG 23-68. FT 3-6. Rebounds: 28. Turnovers: 21.
Quentin Wilford 14, Caleb Nurnberger 14, C.J. Peeters 14, Dustin Monson 6, Bam Glover 15, Sutan Burris 6, Kyle Mickelson 2, Ryan Peeters 10, Lalo Bellamy 3, Erik Peeters 3, Brandon Stenger 4, Dusty Parker 3. FG 35-60. FT 20-36. Three-point baskets: Wilford 2, Nurnberger 3, C.J. Peeters 2, E. Peeters, Parker. Rebounds: 45 (Glover 6). Turnovers: 22.
MIKE BIALKA may be reached at email@example.com or at 855-5861.
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