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Boys' basketball: No. 1 Cretin powers past Raptors

East Ridge's Courtney Brown Jr. goes in for two of his 14 points in the second half against Cretin-Derham Hall Jan. 30, 2018. John Molene / Sports Writer 1 / 3
East Ridge's Kendall Brown finds his way to the basket blocked by Cretin's Ryan Larson late in the second half. Brown led the Raptors with 17 points. John Molene / Sports Writer 2 / 3
Senior guard TJ Kelly of the Raptors makes a move to the basket in the first half Jan. 30, 2018, against top-ranked Cretin-Derham Hall. John Molene / Sports Writer 3 / 3

Cretin-Derham Hall came into the game at East Ridge ranked No.1 in the state and looked the part Tuesday evening, Jan. 30.

Led by University of Minnesota-bound center Daniel Oturu, the Raiders overwhelmed a good Raptors effort, winning 85-63. Cretin improved to 15-1 on the season and a perfect 9-0 in the Suburban East Conference.

What Oturu didn't throw down, Cretin teammates Sy Chatman, Jaeden King and Ryan Larson did, combining for 48 points to Oturu's game-high 25.

East Ridge fell to 12-5 on the season and 6-3 in conference play. The loss snapped a five-game win streak by the Raptors.

"That's a really good team," East Ridge head coach Bryce Tesdahl said. "Obviously they're No. 1 in the state. You've got a Big 10 center, you've got a Division I forward, you've got a great staff that makes them better on a daily basis. What separates them is that they're got a lot of experience under their belt playing together in big-time atmospheres.

"I thought we played decent in stretches but playing against a team like that you've got to be efficient for 36 minutes on both ends of the floor," Tesdahl added. "You can't get into a track meet with them because they've got a bunch of sprinters that are going to win a lot of 100-yard dashes. We've got to turn it into more of a mile and two-mile run and we didn't do that over time."

The Raiders started off as if the game were a dunking competition and dominated the first half, building a 37-19 lead at the break.

East Ridge rallied in the second half and trimmed the Raiders lead to 45-38 with 12:36 to play. But the Raiders responded with a 17-6 run of their own, moving the margin back to 62-44.

Cretin simply had too much firepower for the Raptors, too many weapons. It was par for the course for the Raiders. Cretin is on a 13-game winning streak and has rarely been challenged this season, especially since starting conference play. The Raiders have won their nine conference games by an average of 28 points.

The win gave the Raiders a season sweep of the Raptors. Cretin handled East Ridge at home in the first meeting between the two teams this season, winning 71-57.

Cretin has been a tough nut to crack for the Raptors. The Raiders are 14-3 against East Ridge in the past seven years, including memorably knocking the Raptors out of the section playoffs in 2015 and 2014.

Ninth-grade guard Kendall Brown led the Raptors offensively with 17 points. Junior forward Courtney Brown Jr. had 14 points and sophomore Ben Carlson scored 13.

East Ridge hosts fourth-ranked Eden Prairie (15-2) Friday in a non-conference game starting at 7 p.m.

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