East Ridge boys basketball: Raptors take care of business against Park, Forest Lake
The East Ridge boys basketball team kept its hopes of a Suburban East Conference title alive with a pair of wins over Forest Lake and Park.
East Ridge, which is 16-4 overall and 10-2 in the SEC – a game behind seventh-ranked Cretin-Derham Hall (17-3; 12-1) – earned season sweeps of Forest Lake and Park with a couple of lopsided wins.
East Ridge beat Forest Lake 76-54 on Friday, Jan. 31, in Forest Lake three days after dispatching of Park 71-49 at The Perch in Woodbury.
East Ridge improved to 10-0 against intra-district rival Park since opening in 2009.
The Raptors jumped out to a 47-19 lead at the half on Park (3-16; 0-12 SEC). However, the Wolfpack outscored East Ridge 30-24 in the second half.
“I thought we came out and played a very good first half,” East Ridge head coach Paul Virgin said. “Our shots were falling and our defense was spot on. They outplayed us in the second half. They have some really good players and are well coached.”
Junior guard Sid Tomes led the way for the Raptors in the win, scoring a game-high 16 points to go along with six assists.
East Ridge senior guard Jake Knupp had an efficient night, going 6-for-9 from the floor, including hitting three of his four 3-point attempts, for 15 points. He also added four rebounds, four assists and four steals.
Seniors Ryan Keenan and Parker Moquist each chipped in six points as well.
“I was pleased with Matt Kryzer’s five offensive rebounds and Jake Knupp really shot the ball well,” Virgin said. “Seth Green and Bobby Remke continue to be a force on the boards for us that is huge. Ryan Keenan and Freddie Gillespie are really turning into a force in the middle.”
Against Forest Lake, East Ridge used a 15-0 run in the second half to put the Rangers away and avoid an upset.
Up 41-39 with roughly 17 minutes to play in the game, East Ridge held Forest Lake scoreless until the 8:48 mark to open up a 56-39 lead and pull away from the Rangers (5-15; 2-11 SEC).
“They shot the ball really well in the first half and made six 3s,” Virgin said. “I was pleased with our defensive pressure but their shots kept falling. In the second half they didn’t.”
Tomes had one of his top games of the year, scoring a game-high 20 points to go along with five rebounds and six assists. Tomes also limited Forest Lake’s leading scorer, Matt Degendorfer, to just three points.
“Sid played great defense,” Virgin said. “He is a lock down defender better than any I have seen in a long time. There isn’t anything Sid can’t do well.”
Knupp also provided East Ridge with a double-double with 17 points and 10 assists.
“He just keeps getting better and better each game,” Virgin said.
East Ridge sophomore forward Seth Green added 15 points on 5-of-8 shooting and six rebounds for the Raptors. East Ridge also welcomed back senior Ryan Mathis to the lineup. Mathis, a forward, was previously thought to be out for the season with an injury. He scored seven points and had three rebounds off the bench in his return.
“Yes it was great to have Ryan Mathis back,” Virgin said. “He gives us such a presence in the paint and the guys really get fired up when he makes plays.”
Things get a bit trickier for East Ridge this week.
The Raptors travel to Roseville (11-9; 8-4 SEC) to take on the Raiders on Wednesday, then host rival Woodbury (14-7; 10-3 SEC) on Friday.