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East Ridge boys basketball: Raptors show resiliency with win over Stillwater

East Ridge sophomore forward Seth Green scored 14 points and pulled down five rebounds against Cretin-Derham Hall. (Bulletin photos by Patrick Johnson)

The East Ridge boys basketball team proved to be resilient once again.

Ravished with injuries, ninth-ranked East Ridge had its 10-game winning streak snapped by eighth-ranked Cretin-Derham Hall with a 67-59 defeat in St. Paul on Tuesday, Jan. 14, but bounced back with an 82-69 win over Stillwater on Thursday in Woodbury.

The two games capped the first half of Suburban East Conference play for the Raptors, who find themselves at the top of the league standings at 13-3 overall and 7-1 in the SEC.

“We like the fact that we are tied for first place in the conference after the first round,” East Ridge head coach Paul Virgin said. “We are going to try and improve every day and develop good habits as we enter the second half.”

In the top-10 showdown with Cretin-Derham Hall, East Ridge played without senior center Ryan Keenan and senior forwards Xavier Cole, Ryan Mathis and Brian Ishola. Ishola and Mathis are out for the year. Cole and Keenan should return within weeks, however.

Despite being shorthanded, East Ridge found itself ahead of the Raiders 57-52 with roughly three minutes remaining in the game.

However, Cretin-Derham Hall (12-3; 8-1 SEC) was able to overcome the deficit and escape its home gym with a victory.

“I was pleased with our defense once again,” Virgin said. “We just had some uncharacteristic turnovers by some of our veterans. You can’t do that on the road and against a good team.”

In the game, East Ridge got a balanced effort offensively, but didn’t shoot well from the 3-point line. The Raptors shot 43 percent from the field in the loss, but just 15 percent from long range. 

“We got good looks. They just didn’t fall,” Virgin said. 

Senior guard Jake Knupp led the way for East Ridge with 14 points and six assists. Junior guard Sid Tomes flirted with a triple-double, scoring 10 points, while dishing six assists and hauling in six rebounds. Also, sophomore forward Seth Green scored 14 points and pulled down five rebounds, while juniors Colin Masgai, Bobby Remke and Freddie Gillespie scored seven points, six points and six points, respectively, off the bench for the Raptors.

“I am pleased with the effort of Freddie, Bobby and Colin,” Virgin said. “We have asked them to become full-time varsity players and they have responded very well.”

East Ridge limited Raiders’ sharpshooter Sam Neumann to just 12 points in the game. However, junior guard Joe Rosga came up big for Cretin-Derham Hall with a game-high 24 points to go along with five steals and six rebounds. 

East Ridge rebounded from the loss with an impressive 13-point win over Stillwater (7-8; 3-6 SEC).

East Ridge shot with outstanding efficiency in the win. The Raptors were 53 percent from the floor, 58 percent from behind the 3-point line and 74 percent from the foul line. 

Tomes led the way with 19 points, including going 8-for-8 from the foul line, to go along with five assists and five rebounds. In addition, senior guard Parker Moquist scored 12 points and had two assists, Knupp had 10 points and six assists and Masgai and Remke scored 11 and 12 points, respectively, off the bench. 

“Offensively, Colin Masgai and Bobby Remke really came into their own,” Virgin said. “Colin had three 3-pointers in the first half that were a huge boost of energy for us and Bobby Remke just does everything we ask of him. He is going to be a force in the Suburban East.”

Despite giving up 69 points, Virgin was happy with his team’s defensive effort.

“Our defense was very good,” Virgin said. “They hit some 3s that were contested and some inside shots that were circus-like.”

East Ridge capped its week with a 54-51 win over Middleton, Wis., in the Midwest Classic in La Crosse, Wis.

Knupp led the way with a game-high 22 points, Green scored 12 points and Tomes had nine points in the win.

East Ridge was at Hastings (3-13; 1-8 SEC) on Tuesday, after the Bulletin went to print. Next, the Raptors are on the road at Mounds View (13-3; 6-3 SEC) on Friday.

“This week will really test our maturity,” Virgin said.

-Patrick Johnson

Patrick Johnson
Patrick Johnson has been the South Washington County Bulletin’s sports editor since 2008. He reports on and oversees coverage of high school and amateur sports in south Washington County and Woodbury. Prior to joining the Bulletin, Johnson worked for other Twin Cities suburban newspapers. He is a University of Minnesota graduate.
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