Sixth-ranked East Ridge put five players in double figures and romped to a convincing 86-41 win over visiting Minneapolis Southwest as the Raptors opened the home season in a rare Wednesday game.
New head coach Bryce Tesdahl got his first win at the school as East Ridge evened its season record at 1-1. The Raptors then improved to 2-1 with a 71-66 win over Chanhassen on Friday, Dec. 8.
Junior standout Courtney Brown led five Raptors in double figures with 25 points against Minneapolis Southwest. Sophomore forward Ben Carlson scored 20. East Ridge's Kendall Brown and Zach Zebrowski scored 11 each and Joey Arndt had 10.
"Tonight we did a really good job of running our sets," Brown said. "We were able to get the ball into where we needed to go and guys were able to make plays."
East Ridge dominated the Lakers from start to finish and led 51-20 at the half. The only drama was whether coach Tesdahl would get his entire roster in. He failed, but just barely, getting 16 of the 17 players.
It was a satisfying bounce-back victory for the Raptors, who lost a 60-58 heartbreaker to Class 2A top-ranked Minnehaha Academy to open the season.
"I thought we made progress over the last two days with our offense," Tesdahl said. "Just moving the ball, sharing the ball and we got into spots where we could score and be efficient. And it was good to see those shots those shots that we had on Saturday that didn't go down, go down tonight and I think that will build confidence moving forward."
The Raptors agreed there was progress between games one and two.
"I'd say we're always going to be improving," Arndt said. "I loved our defense which generated a lot of energy for our offense which created a lot more things for us."
The Raptors played extremely well at both ends of the court. East Ridge's defense forced bad shots and multiple turnovers all game long which led to easy baskets on the other end. Offensively, the Raptors break was working and when it wasn't, East Ridge's half-court offense had success as well.
"We wanted to work on things that were about us and putting us in spots where we could get shots and we knew in practice we were getting those shots and making them but we just needed to build that confidence in a game situation and I think we got that now with the game tonight," said Tesdahl. "But we just have to keep moving forward. We've got a lot of improvement to make. It was good to see the outcome tonight from our guys."
Minneapolis Southwest fell to 1-1.
After two games the Raptors were allowing an average of 50.5 points per game.
"I expect a lot," said Arndt. "We want to set the record for being one of the best defensive teams in the state. We take pride in our defense."
The Raptors take on second-ranked Cretin-Derham Hall on Friday, Dec. 15.