East Ridge 80, Lakeville South 39
After a tough loss at Eden Prairie on Tuesday night, East Ridge came back firing with a dominating performance before the holiday break. The Raptors defeated Lakeville South 80-39 at home on Friday night.
The Raptors had three players reach double digits in points with Ben Carlson leading the team with 20 points. Kendall Brown followed behind him with 15 points, while Zach Zebrowski finished the night with 12 points.
Along with high scoring, East Ridge also named Courtney Brown Jr. the new all-time leading scorer in school history for boys basketball.
This win improves East Ridge's record to 4-2 as the Raptors host Eastview, New Prague and Rosemount on Thursday, Dec. 27 and Friday, Dec. 28 for a tournament at the Perch in East Ridge High School.
Park 85, Simley 67
Domenik Block continued his success in scoring points on Friday night as Park defeated Simley at home with an 85-67 final score. Block had 33 points on Tuesday night against Stillwater and he finished the night with a team-high 28 points.
Along with Block, Jeremiah Smith had 23 points, while Charlie Gorres ended the night with 19 points. It was a strong win for the Wolfpack as their record improves to 2-4 on the season and the confidence builds heading into a tournament next week at Tartan High School.
The tournament starts on Thursday, Dec. 27 as Park plays the host team, Tartan, at 8 p.m. that night. The games will continue into Friday, Dec. 28 as well.
New Life Academy 76, Washington Tech 64
It was a strong performance for New Life Academy as the Eagles took home a 76-64 win over Washington Tech on Thursday night.
The Eagles shared the ball throughout the night, which allowed three players to reach double digits in points.
Michael Reader finished the game with a team high 24 points, while Kollin Kaemingk and Konner Ware each finished with 18 and 16 points respectively.
The win brings up New Life's record to 3-2 on the season as the Eagles have a weekend break for the holidays. Then, they get right back to work with a tournament at South St. Paul. Their first game will be against Community of Peace at 1 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 27.
Eden Prairie 55, East Ridge 50
After talking to three players and head coach Bryce Tesdahl, all of them agreed that the focus on Tuesday night was on defense. The No. 3 ranked East Ridge came out stopping shots against the No. 6 ranked Eden Prairie and kept the Eagles at 55 total points throughout the night.
The only problem was that the offense didn't come to life on Tuesday, which caused the Raptors to add their second loss of the season as Eden Prairie came out with the 55-50 win in a battle of top 10 teams in the state.
"We just needed to make a few more shots towards the end of the game," Tesdahl said. "We have some really talented players and hopefully this is a learning lesson for all of them heading into conference play soon."
Tesdahl schedules these highly rated teams at the beginning of the season to give the East Ridge players the best competition possible before conference and section play.
It was a game of runs between the two teams as Eden Prairie had a few runs to take a 28-24 lead after the first half. It was at halftime that Tesdahl and the coaching staff continued to preach defense and the Raptors showed exactly that to start the second half.
East Ridge went on a 14-0 run to start the second half due to some strong defense and finding the open man on offense. Even though East Ridge was playing on the road, it felt like a home game with how loud the Raptors bench and fans were during that run.
"It was fun to have that run and have everything working on both ends of the floor," said Zach Zebrowski. "We just needed to continue that mindset for the last part of the game."
After the big run for East Ridge, Eden Prairie went on its own runs to regain the lead and never look back. The Raptors had only one player reach double digits in points as Courtney Brown Jr. led the team with 19 points.
Zebrowski finished the night with nine points, while Kendall Brown and Patrick Lynott each scored eight points.
"It was a hard fought game and those are the games we learn most from," Brown Jr. said. "It's always tough to lose a close one, but hopefully we learn from this and build upon it for the next games."
The Raptors have one more game before the holiday weekend. East Ridge will host Lakeville South on Friday, Dec. 21 at 7 p.m. before the Raptors start the conference season in January.
East Ridge will also be hosting a tournament on Thursday, Dec. 27 and Friday, Dec. 28 as the schools have a break for the holidays.
"It's better to have these experiences in December because we can build from the mistakes," said Ben Carlson. "We've grown so much from the first couple of the games and it's great to see heading into conference play soon."
Stillwater 69, Park 62
It was a battle between conference opponents, but Stillwater finished Tuesday night with the 69-62 win over Park.
Domenik Block had a memorable night as he finished with a game-high 33 points and was untouchable the majority of the game. Jeremiah Smith ended the night with 12 points, while Charlie Gorres finished with seven points.
This loss started off the conference season with an 0-1 record for Park, but the Wolfpack look to rebound on Friday, Dec. 21 at 5:30 p.m. as they host Simley.