Before the Central Lakes College Raiders women's basketball team could even score a point they found themselves in an abyss.
The Minnesota Community College's top-ranked Minneapolis Marauders exploded for a 17-0 lead. Minneapolis never trailed as it beat the Raiders 78-67 in the opening round of the MCCC state championship Friday at Central Lakes College.
It wasn't until 15:54 before the Raiders realized what hit them and started hitting back. Casey Veith scored CLC's first points off a three-pointer.
MCCC Women's State Touranment
Vermilion 57, Rainy River 49
Northland 69, Rochester 68
Minneapolis 78, Central lakes 67
Ridgewater 70, Mesabi Range 66
Rainy River vs. Mesabi Range, 1 p.m.
Central Lakes vs. Rochester, 3 p.m.
Vermilion vs. Ridgewater, 6 p.m.
Northland vs. Minneapolis, 8 p.m.
Consolation Championship, noon
Third Place game, 2 p.m.
Championship game, 4 p.m.
Minneapolis proceeded to extend its lead with an 8-2 run before Raiders coach Dennis Eastman called his second timeout of the game.
Central Lakes College's Cassey Veith (left) and Tara Storts applied smothering pressure to Shannon Finis of the Minneapolis Marauders in their Minnesota Community College Conference state tournament first-round game Friday night. (Dispatch Photo by Clint Wood)
"I think a lot of it had to do with nerves," said Eastman. "When you're shooting, one thing you look at is the shots. If they're falling short that usually means they're tired. If they shoot strong that means they got a little too much adrenaline and we were shooting really strong.."
After the timeout, CLC regained its composure and refocused on going down low. That's where Molly RoggenKamp scored six straight points and the Raiders climbed to 27-13. The teams traded baskets the rest of the way with the Marauders holding a 45-27 halftime lead.
The Raiders shot 32 percent (12-37) from the field in the first half and didn't attempt a free throw.
"It seemed like they were a little more fired up than us," said RoggenKamp. "Nothing was falling for us. We took our shots and they were good shots, but fate wasn't on our side for the first eight minutes of the game."
RoggenKamp scored 12 of her team-high 21 points while Tiara Medlock scored 17 of her 22 points in the first half.
"She's a Division I player," said Eastman about Medlock. "I have not seen anybody in my 11 years dominate a game like she can. I caught myself at times watching her."
Medlock, the South Division's leading scorer reached her season average of 22.2 points a game, but rolled her ankle midway through the second half.
"What we were trying to do is not really stop her," said Eastman. "We were going to give her, her points, but we needed to stop the other ones and we didn't.
"Taquana Roberts is the one who has hurt us in the past because of her rebounding. They list her at 5-foot-9, but she's only about 5-4. She can box out. She came up with some big shots."
Roberts finished with 19 points.
With 11 minutes left, the Raiders cut the deficit to 20, thanks to another Veith three. CLC then went on a 9-0 run highlighted by Val Diedrich's four points.
Slowly the Raiders chipped away, cutting the Marauder lead to 10 with seven minutes to play. Tara Storts knocked in three of her four 3-pointers and added two free throws in the second half to bring CLC to within 73-67.
The Raiders were forced to foul as time was running down. Minneapolis hit 8-of-16 free throws in the final minutes and scored the game's last five points for the win.
"Molly had a great game and Tara Storts came up with some big shots," said Eastman. "Becca Nagel played her heart out. She's the one in the second half that shut down Medlock as much as she could.
"You want to end your year on a good note. Very few times can you end your season with a win without winning a championship. We've worked hard and we can't just flush it down the toilet. I don't think we'll do that because they're not that type of players. They want to win."
Nikol Snoeren 10, Mary Thomas 8, Taquana Roberts 19, Tiara Medlock 22, Shannon Finis 12, Jessica Crockett 7. Team totals: FG 31-70 (44 percent), FT 12-30 (40 percent). Overall -- 16-9.
CENTRAL LAKES (67)
Melissa Sahlberg 5, Val Diedrich 18, Tara Storts 16, Cassey Veith 7, Molly RoggenKamp 21. Team totals: FG 25-74 ( 34 percent), FT 8-12 (67 percent). Overall -- 9-13.
3-point baskets -- M 4 (Medlock 4), CLC 9 (Storts 4, Diedrich 2, Sahlberg 1). Rebounds -- M 52, CLC 47 (RoggenKamp 10, Veith 7). Turnovers -- M 6, CLC 10. Total fouls -- M 8, CLC 20. Assists -- M 5, CLC 10. Steals -- M 6, CLC 4. Blocks -- M 0, CLC 6 (RoggenKamp 3, Sahlberg 3). Halftime -- M 45, CLC 27.
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