Throughout his career, Central Lakes College Raiders women's basketball coach Dennis Eastman could always count on one thing: Beating the Hibbing Cardinals.
In his 14 years of coaching at CLC, Eastman's teams had never lost to the Cardinals. That's 24 straight wins. But, like all streaks, sooner or later they come to an end.
Unfortunately for the Raiders, their dominance over Hibbing ended Wednesday in a 64-57 loss, sending CLC (2-5 North Division, 3-16 overall) to its third straight loss.
Hibbing jumped to a quick 11-0 lead in the first half and continued to pour it on as a lifeless CLC squad looked on.
The game was nearly seven minutes old when the Raiders got on the board with a Beth Rogge jumper. CLC shot only 33 percent in the first half and in the game.
Hibbing 64, Raiders 57
Quick start: Hibbing jumped to an 11-0 lead and led the whole way.
Next: vs. Itasca,
1 p.m. Saturday
"At this time of the season we shouldn't be worrying about whether or not we're ready to play," Eastman said. "There's just not much I can do right now. We played better in the second half. But if you only play half the game you're always going to lose."
CLC got a steady dose of Hibbing's Lakeshia White. The 6-foot-1 center ate up the Raiders' post defense as she scored 13 first-half points. White finished with 25 points and a game-high 11 rebounds.
White's play forced Eastman to switch from a man-to-man defense to a zone in order to better handle the inside. But while the Raiders sagged inside, Hibbing guards Carrie Runstrom and Kara Mosher started hitting shots from outside.
"(White) was killing us inside," said Eastman. "We wanted to front her but we weren't getting the backside help. We made a change and then they started bombing us from he outside."
Down almost 20 points in the second half, the Raiders mounted a comeback.
CLC's Kaylee Bandemer single-handedly brought the Raiders back from the brink as she scored 10 straight points to bring the score to 53-45. Bandemer finished with a game-high 27 points while grabbing nine rebounds.
But, as Eastman pointed out, Bandemer was open all game long.
"We could have been going to Kaylee like that the whole game," said Eastman. "You've got to be able to see the court. The middle was wide open but you have to look for it. Kaylee was frustrated. She worked hard and she should have been rewarded for working so hard."
With upcoming games against the North's top three teams (Itasca, Rainy River and Mesabi Range), the road to the state tournament will be a rocky one for CLC.
"I'm always looking at the standings," Eastman said. "This loss really doesn't help. Now we have to win four out of our next five. The gray clouds and thunderstorm are rolling in. Hopefully, the sun will come out but I don't see it."
Hibbing 35 29 -- 64
Central Lakes 23 34 -- 57
Lakeshia White 25, Tina Polla 9, Siony Miller 2, Abby Femling 6, Kara Mosher 7, Carrie Runstrom 13, Shawntae Holter 2. Team totals: FG 26-63 (41 percent), FT 7-12 (58 percent). 3-point baskets: 3 (Runstrom 3). North Division -- 2-5. Overall -- 5-13.
Bobbi VanWechel 9, Kaylee Bandemer 27, Megan Eastman 5, Jada Illies 2, Lindsey Finco 4, Jackie Sullivan 3, Beth Rogge 2, Terra Winscher 5. Team totals: FG 19-57 (33 percent), FT 15-19 (79 percent). 3-point baskets: 4 (Eastman, Sullivan, Winscher, VanWechel). North Division -- 2-5. Overall -- 3-16. Next game: host Itasca 1 p.m. Saturday.
Rebounds -- CLC 22 (Bandemer 9), H 33 (White 11). Assists -- CLC 13 (Eastman 3), H 15 (Femling 5).
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