If a high school basketball team makes it to mid-January before sustaining two losses in a row, a lot of things are going right.
So while the Central boys’ basketball team suffered its first back-to-back losses last week against Jordan and Glencoe-Silver Lake, Raiders head coach Nat Boyer said the Raiders have a chance to show some fight in upcoming games.
“This provides the team with an outstanding opportunity to show what kind of resilience we have,” he said. “It is important that we bounce back and play to the best of our ability after the last two games that we have played.”
The Raiders are now 9-3 on the season overall, but will be looking to pick up ground in the Minnesota River Conference where they are just 2-2 and in fifth place. Jordan and Mayer Lutheran are currently in first place with a 4-1 league mark.
Central 56, Jordan 60
Jordan and Mayer Lutheran lead the conference, and Boyer said he saw similarities in the way that the Raiders approached their games with both of those teams.
“Very similar game to our experience with Mayer earlier in the year, where we came out really apprehensive in the first half. Things obviously shifted in the second half due to a number of hustle plays and some great team defense. In the end turnovers and inconsistency on defense led to our demise,” he said.
The Raiders fell behind 36-24 in the first half, and even though they held a 32-24 advantage in the second half that wasn’t quite enough to make up the early deficit.
Trevor Groschen had 16 points and nine rebounds to lead the Raiders in both categories during the game. Andrew Cardinal had 15 points, five rebounds and four assists, and Tom Messner scored seven points with six rebounds, three assists and two blocks.
Kyle Brazil also had seven points, and Luke Marschall scored six points with eight rebounds and a block.
“Just like we said at the beginning of the year and every game since then, teams are not going to roll over for us. Every team that steps on the court wants to win, but it is the team that plays the complete game and does the fundamental things correctly that is going to come out on top,” said Boyer.
Central 46, GSL 66
The week’s second game was a low point, as the team posted its second-lowest scoring total of the season and again played tight from the opening tip off.
“GSL played an outstanding game and were all over us from the beginning,” said Boyer. “We did not respond well and after going through adjustments at halftime, our response did not improve and GSL played the better game.”
The Raiders trailed 34-23 at halftime, and trailed by nearly the same margin in a 32-23 second half. They shot just under 36 percent from the field, and only took four free throws in the game, missing three of them.
Messner led the scoring with 13 points, and he added five rebounds and three assists.
Marschall scored nine points, and Groschen and Taylor Trick each scored six points, with Trick collecting a team-high six rebounds.
“We need to refocus and get back on the track of playing one game at a time and give it our all for the next 36+ minutes we have in the next game,” said Boyer.
“I think that best thing that came out of these two games is the fact that we either need to come out and play solid basketball or else we are not going to be as successful as we know we can be. The conference and sub-section have shown that they are both going to be a tough battle all season. If we want to be competitive and a factor in either race, we need to really pick things up as a whole group.”
Contact Paul Downer at [email protected]