Host East Ridge jumped out to an 18-0 lead and made short work of visiting Tartan Wednesday night in a Section 4AAAA girl’s basketball semifinal on Wednesday, winning 78-36.
The second-seeded Raptors advanced to the section semifinals where they will play third-seeded White Bear Lake at 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 29, at Hastings High School.
All four top section seeds advanced in easy fashion Wednesday. Top-seeded Stillwater made mincemeat of visiting North St. Paul, winning 87-10. Fourth-seeded Woodbury easily got by fifth-seeded Cretin-Derham Hall 53-34 and White Bear Lake smoked sixth-seeded St. Paul Central 69-45.
East Ridge (17-10) will play White Bear Lake (14-13) in the early game Saturday at Hastings, followed by the Stillwater (20-6) vs. Woodbury (12-15) matchup.
The Raptors spilt the season series with White Bear Lake, winning at White Bear Lake 37-30, but losing 71-51 at home.
The Titans (4-23) were never in this one. They trailed 18-0 after the game’s first six minutes and were down 42-20 at the half. Much of the second half was the same and East Ridge coach Glen Wurm went to his bench early and often in the latter stages of the game. East Ridge led 61-32 with 9:04 to play when Wurm started to clear his bench.
“We came out with urgency and intensity,” said Wurm. “We started the way we want to start.”
The Raptors used a balanced inside-out attack, which the Titans had no answer for. Emily Christenson led the Raptors with 19 points. Ella Stegeman scored 13 points, Britt Carlson 12, Kate Burns eight and Grace Bennett seven. In all, 11 Raptors scored in the game,
“The key for us is to stay balanced,” Wurm noted. “Our post kids were putting pressure on them and our guards were putting pressure on them. We want it all, it can’t be one or the other. This time of year it’s all about moving on.”
It was a dramatic turnaround for the Raptors, who had lost first-round section games each of the last two years and is just two seasons removed from a 0-26 campaign.