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Raptors claim first basketball victories

East Ridge fans stormed the court in celebration of the Raptor boys basketball team's come-from-behind win over Minneapolis Southwest on Friday. The victory came shortly after the ERHS girls hoopsters defeated South St. Paul at Henry Sibley for their first-ever victory. Staff Photo by Tom Carothers.

Friday night was a good night for the East Ridge basketball teams as the Raptor boys rallied to top Minneapolis Southwest in its opening contest at home, while the girls earned win No. 1 in their second game across the river at the Henry Sibley Tournament versus South St. Paul.

ERHS Boys Hoop

The East Ridge boys did not disappoint a packed house in "The Raptors' Nest" as coach Paul Virgin's crew rallied from a double-digit second half deficit to top the Lakers, 76-71, to the delight of a student body that stormed the court after the final horn.

The Raptors had led the sloppy, yet scintillating contest in the first half before the playground-ball stylings of Southwest paid off before and after halftime as the visitors led 50-38 five minutes into the second half.

However, East Ridge chipped away at the Lakers' advantage before knotting the game at 63-63 after a steal and basket by John Hietpas with 4:20 to play.

Both teams traded the lead over the next three minutes with the hosts pulling out in front, 71-70 on a three-pointer from Dillon Johnson with 1:20 to go.

Southwest hit one of two free throws on the ensuing possession to tie the game at 71-all. However, the bucket from the charity stripe with 1:02 left would be the final tally for the visitors on the night.

Dayo Idowu put the Raptors ahead to stay with an impressive lay-up through traffic with 45 seconds to play to put his team up 73-71.

After an exchange in possessions, Idowu was fouled and hit 1-of-2 from the line in the closing seconds to bring the count to its would-be final following a missed three-point attempt from the Lakers was corralled by the Raptors as the clock hit 0:00 to set off a jubilant celebration in Raptorland.

Johnson led East Ridge with 20 points, with Hietpas scoring 18 and Idowu 14 in the victory.

The Raptors host St. Louis Park on Tuesday night.

ERHS Girls Hoop

Individual statistics were not available, but the East Ridge girls claimed their first win of the year by means of a 51-42 victory over the Packers in West St. Paul.

The victory pulled the Raptors to 1-1 on the season. However, coach Glen Wuem's club fell to 1-2 on the year with a 49-38 loss to Henry Sibley on the Warriors' home floor on Saturday.

The Lady Raptors travel to Fridley on Monday night to take on Tigers before returning home to play sixth-ranked White Bear Lake on Friday.