Raiders fall to Crusaders

After starting their season 6-0, the Central boys’ basketball team suffered its first loss at Mayer Lutheran last Thursday, Dec. 20.

The 56-43 defeat dropped the Raiders to 6-1 on the season, 1-1 in the Minnesota River Conference.

“They played extremely well and we did not do what was needed,” said Raiders head coach Nat Boyer. “Our hustle plays did not happen in the first half as we were accustomed to in the first six games of the year.”

Boyer said the Raiders looked good at the outset, but the Crusaders gradually asserted control of the game and built a 35-18 lead by halftime.

The teams were closely matched in terms of shooting percentage and rebounds, but Mayer Lutheran had an edge in the number of shots taken at 52-37. Both teams shot at about 38 percent from the field.

“We came out well, but lost steam and allowed Mayer too many open looks, which they converted on. We knew that Mayer had everyone healthy and when they are hitting on all cylinders they are a very dangerous team,” he said. “I give a lot of credit to Mayer, they outplayed us in every aspect of the game.”

Tom Messner was Central’s top offensive player of the evening, scoring 14 points with a pair of assists. Kyle Brazil added nine points and three rebounds, Luke Marschall had seven points, nine rebounds and four blocks, and Trevor Groschen scored five points with three assists.

While starting the season with a 6-0 run was fun, it’s not likely that anyone expected perfection from the Raiders for the rest of the season.

“Every team goes in and tries to win every game they play, but obviously losses will happen. What is important is to see how we rebound from this loss,” said Boyer. “It is so important that we do not lose sight of where we are going. To start out the season, 6-0 is a great way to start and 7-0 would have been fantastic, but we will learn from this loss and move forward. We will take a hard look at this game and make as many changes as we can to be ready for Glenville-Emmons in the first game of our holiday tourney.”

The Raiders are hosting a tournament in conjunction with the girls’ team on Dec. 28-29. The first game for the Central boys is scheduled for 5:45 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 28.