On Friday night, it would have been easy for the Central Lakes Raiders to have looked ahead to Saturday's matchup with Vermilion.
The Raiders went into their game with Mesabi Range with a conference record of 7-1, good for sole possession of second place behind Vermilion (8-0).
Bam Glover had 20 points and shot 8-12 from the field to lead the Raiders in a 71-38 victory over the Norse. Glover also grabbed nine rebounds along with C.J. Peeters. Dustin Monson had 16 points and Erik Peeters had 10 off the bench for the Raiders.
"Coach gave me a talk during a timeout and told me it was my time to take over and be the leader on the floor," said Glover. "So I said it was about time to take over."
The final score was rather convincing for the Raiders but there were some heated moments. After the Norse scored six straight points to climb within 46-34 in the second half with eight minutes left, CLC coach Jim Russell called a timeout and made a few comments to his team.
"During that little run we were playing lazy and throwing lazy passes and not playing like we were supposed to," said Glover. "Coach motivated us at that point and said we have to have a mindset of going to nationals and that we can't play like that. We took it to heart and played our game."
"Anytime you come to a big rivalry game or a big game, teams always slip," Russell said. "And, you know, we slipped tonight. We didn't score as many points as we would have liked and we slipped a little because it is mental and not being ready to play tonight because they are thinking about (Saturday)."
Russell's words worked coming out of the timeout as the Raiders outscored the Norse 25-4 and ran away while holding Mesabi to 29 percent shooting for the game.
Glover and Monson were giving CLC a tough inside presence in the first half as each scored six points. Meanwhile, Erik Peeters was providing some outside offense with seven points.
The other key element for the Raiders was their deep bench as 12 players saw action in the first half. CLC finished the first half ahead 29-19.
"We knew going into the game that we were going to wear them out because we had a deeper bench, and they struggled with that," Russell said. "And, we also changed our defense up and made some adjustments so they couldn't get their feet under them to shoot the three.
"Eric Peeters played a great game tonight, coming off the bench along with a couple of other guys. Kyle Mickelson played great and did a good job handling the ball."
Mesabi Range 19 19 - 38
Central Lakes 29 42 - 71
John Anderson 4, Jay Schweisthal 2, Andy Nikolanci 5, Curtis Houle 18, Keaton Romsas 5, D'Andrey Arther 4. Field Goals: 15-51 (29 percent), Free Throws: 3-6 (50 percent). Three-point baskets: (Nikolanci 1, Houle 4,). Division: 2-7. Overall: 8-12.
Sutan Burris 8, Quentin Wilford 6, Erik Peeters 10, C.J. Peeters 4, Bam Glover 20, Dustin Monson 16, Ryan Peeters 5, Lalo Bellamy 2. Field Goals: 28-64 (44 percent), Free Throws: 13-23 (57 percent) Three-point baskets: (E. Peeters 2). Division: 8-1. Overall: 17-4. Next: hosted Vermilion 3 p.m. Saturday.
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