After losing its first round game at the Minnesota Community College Conference state tournament Friday and having any hopes of moving on in the playoffs dashed, Central Lakes College men's basketball coach Jim Russell was consoled by the fact his players still had a game or two left in their season.
The Raiders got to play those two games and then some. CLC beat the Rochester Yellowjackets 106-105 in triple overtime Saturday in the consolation semifinals and then fell 98-88 in double overtime to the Vermilion Ironmen in the consolation championship game Sunday.
"We looked at it as an opportunity for the guys to show more of this team and their abilities," Raiders coach Jim Russell said. "The guys wanted to win and they got those extra minutes to win another game or two."
The Raiders, who beat Vermilion in overtime a week ago in the regular season finale, made a strong second half comeback, outscoring the Ironmen 42-36 to force overtime. Both squads scored 10 points in the first overtime before the Raiders ran out of gas in the second overtime.
MCCC state basketball
The key: The Raiders beat Rochester in triple overtime before running out of gas to Vermilion in double overtime to finish in sixth place.
Overall: CLC 16-13.
CLC sophomore forward Leonard Langdon poured in a team-high 27 points on 11 of 18 shooting and corralled 10 rebounds to complete the double-double. Langdon, who was named to the All-Northern Division first team and All-MCCC team for the second consecutive season, scored a game-high 27 points, including two 3-pointers and six rebounds, in the win over Rochester.
"Leonard showed what he did for us all year and that was to be a force inside," Russell said. "As coaches we'd all sit there and talk about what players are good and they all said they had to make adjustments for Leonard. What he did in this tournament was tremendous."
Fellow sophomore Eli McVey scored 14 points against both Rochester and Vermilion. Freshman forward Chris Beckley added 12 points and 11 rebounds against the Ironmen and scored 13 points and grabbed eight boards against the Yellowjackets. Both McVey and Beckley were named to the Northern Division first team.
The Raiders used an opportunistic defense to force turnovers and score easy transition buckets. Against Rochester CLC forced 36 turnovers, which translated into 44 points. Walter Power got eight steals to go along with his 23 points. In the consolation title game, the Raiders converted 22 Vermilion turnovers into 23 points.
"All year we've talked about defense and creating turnovers to get chances to score and we did those things," said Russell. "When you do that you give yourself an opportunity to win games. Where we lost games was putting teams on the free throw line and not rebounding. But getting turnovers balanced things out."
Russell said that his squad wasn't the most athletically gifted players or a team steeped in talent as some other programs. But he said they learned how to win and gave the program its second straight Northern Division title.
"As a coaching staff we thought we'd be lucky to be .500 at the beginning of the year," Russell said. "To win the division and be competitive is a very good feeling. Sure we wanted to continue to play but we accomplished a lot. We always gave ourselves the opportunity to win and that's all we can ask for."
Central Lakes 27 42 10 9 -- 88
Vermilion 33 36 10 19 -- 98
Chris Beckley 12, Gavin Glazier 4, Justin Kelly-Gilliam 9, Leonard Langdon 27, Eli McVey 14, Jahiah Porter 5, Walter Power 9, Louis Roseman 6, Grant Tilus 2. Team totals: FG 37-86 (43 percent), FT 10-17 (59 percent). 3-point baskets: 4 (Kelly-Gilliam, McVey 2, Langdon).
Shea Amic 1, Anthony Anderson 21, Nate Donald 2, Gavin Erickson 13, Jameel Koonce 19, Aaron Overby 30, Zach Smith 8, A. Wiggins 4. Team totals: FG 35-69 (51 percent), FT 19-34 (56 percent). 3-point baskets: 9 (Erickson 3, Overby 4, Smith 2).
Rebounds -- CLC 44 (Beckley 11, Langdon 10), V 55 (Koonce 23). Assists -- CLC 23 (Kelly-Gilliam 6, Power 5), V 22 (Anderson 9). Steals -- CLC 14 (McVey 3, Beckley 3), V 8 (Anderson 4). Turnovers -- CLC 14, V 22.
Central Lakes 33 36 11 15 11 -- 106
Rochester 33 36 11 15 10 -- 105
Beckley 13, Ben Hamill 5, Kelly-Gilliam 3, Danny Kimman 7, Langdon 27, McVey 14, Porter 2, Power 23, Roseman 10, Tilus 2. Team totals: FG 43-85 (51 percent), FT 13-21 (62 percent). 3-point baskets: 7 (Hamill, Kelly-Gilliam, Langdon 2, McVey 2, Power).
E. Almen 8, C. Converse 18, X. Jones 3, J. Kollar 13, J. Mews 14, A. Motz 14, C. Ryan 8, B. Sather 2, B. Scherncker 2, V. Thomas 8, T. Young 15. Team totals: FG 34-76 (45 percent), FT 27-38 (71 percent). 3-point baskets: 10 (Almen 2, Kollar, Mews 3, Motz 4).
Rebounds -- CLC 33 (Beckley 8, Langdon 6), R 60 (Young 12). Assists -- CLC 26 (Kelly-Gilliam 5, Langdon 5), R 20 (Ryan 4). Steals -- CLC 22 (Power 8, MvVey 5), R 13 (Ryan 4). Turnovers -- CLC 21, R 36.
TROY GUNDERSON can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5865.
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