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Girls' Basketball: Raptors fall in upset to Forest Lake

East Ridge center Mariah Sexe is fouled as she tries to go up for a shot late in the second half in a 62-60 Raptors loss to Forest Lake Friday. (Photo by John Molene)1 / 3
Kelen Kenol of East Ridge goes up for a shot in the first half against Forest Lake. Kenol scored 12 points in the game for the Raptors. (Photo by John Molene)2 / 3
Noelle Tomes goes in for a layup in the second half against Forest Lake. Tomes led the Raptors with 23 points. (Photo by John Molene)3 / 3

On a 14-3 run the first six minutes of the second half, East Ridge looked in control and cruising to a relatively easy win.

Instead, the Raptors stumbled badly down the stretch and fell to upset-minded Forest Lake 62-60 Friday in a Suburban East Conference contest.

East Ridge had an unlikely last-second shot at winning the game, but a three-quarters court desperation heave by star guard Noelle Tomes fell well short at the buzzer.

East Ridge slipped to 8-3 in the conference and 15-5 on the season. Forest Lake improved to 6-6 in the league and 13-7 overall.

"Really tough loss," East Ridge head coach Glen Wurm said. "When you don't play the game the right way you know that's what's going to happen. We didn't play the game the right way in the first half. This game should have been over in the first half. But we decided that we weren't going to play the way we're capable of playing. When we tried to do things on our own, this is the end result."

East Ridge had surged from a 29-24 halftime lead to 43-27 with 12:25 to play in the second half. The Raptors were still in good shape, leading 48-36 with eight minutes to play, but then the game gradually slipped away.

The Rangers stormed back on a 21-9 run, tying the game at 57-all with 2:03 to play. The rest of the game was tense, but the Rangers did just enough to earn the victory.

Forest Lake took a 61-57 lead on a drive by Abigail Overland and then two free throws with 20 seconds left by Lexie Huffman. East Ridge's Emma Stoehr threw in a 3-point shot while falling to cut Forest Lake's lead to 61-60 with 3.5 seconds left.

The Raptors fouled on the ensuing inbounds play, and when Lindsey Johnson made just one of two free-throws with two seconds left, the Raptors had a slim chance at a last-second win. But Tomes' long-range buzzer-beating attempt didn't have a chance.

It was a tough loss for the Raptors and second straight after an eight-game winning streak.

"Way too many turnovers," said Wurm. "You saw that in the first half. We had multiple players out there with more turnovers than they had points or even shots for that matter. Then in the second half, we thought, well, we'll just run the clock out. No, not when you're getting out-competed on both ends of the floor. It's a sad lesson in competitive athletics.

"This being basketball, you have to compete on both ends of the floor," Wurm added. "You can't watch the game and expect somebody else to do it for you. When you get in that mode, which we were in for I thought for the majority of the game, now we're standing there watching our teammates try to make plays instead of making plays with them."

Tomes led the Raptors with 23 points. Kelen Kenol scored 12, Emma Stoehr 11 and Mariah Sexe nine.

With league-leading Roseville (18-2, 10-2) winning 49-45 at Woodbury Friday, the Raptors fell into a second-place tie with White Bear Lake, both teams at 8-3 in the conference. The Raptors host seventh-ranked Roseville Friday, Feb. 10 in a SEC showdown.

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