Boys Basketball: East Ridge sinks Red Wing in OTWingers struggle with shooting in 52-48 loss on Tuesday
By: Joe Brown, The Republican Eagle
The Red Wing defense did everything it could to stay in the hunt against East Ridge.
For the bulk of Tuesday’s non-conference game, the Wingers and the Raptors traded the lead, with no team going up by more than three points until the end of the game.
Forcing an athletic East Ridge team into 18 turnovers, there was plenty to be excited about for Red Wing head coach Doug Toivonen.
At least on defense.
“Our defense gave us an opportunity,” Toivonen said, “but we couldn’t take advantage and it ended up costing us.”
Red Wing’s offense struggled from the start, shooting 29.8 percent from the field in a 52-48 overtime loss at home.
“When you lose a game in overtime like that, you look at so many little plays that could have made the difference,” Toivonen said. “We were not able to make the plays when we needed to and it was a disappointing finish.”
Battling back and forth in the first half, the Raptors duo of Brian Ishola and Sid Tomes took advantage of the Wingers’ lack of height, using their athleticism to get to the hoop as both players had eight first-half points.
“They passed to No. 3 (Ishola) and he’s a big, strong kid,” said Red Wing sophomore Ty Buck. “He drove the lane, and when help came, he kicked it out. Coach really had us focus on help side, but when we focused help side, they kicked out for three, so it was pretty tough.”
Down 21-18, Ryan Boldt cut the Wingers’ deficit down to one with a long-range 2-pointer at the buzzer. After halftime, Boldt gave Red Wing the 22-21 lead with a quick layup.
As the two teams battled for the lead, Buck emerged as the Wingers’ go-to weapon. Muscling his way through the Raptors’ bigs, Buck scored 12 of his 16 points in the second half.
“That intensity (in the game) really helped a lot,” Buck said. “I give a lot of credit to my teammates for finding me as the open guy and getting me the ball.”
Down 42-40, Ishola drove through the Wingers’ defense for a layup, tying the game with 2 minutes, 37 seconds left. But with 1:35 left, Boldt got to the free-throw line, sinking both shots to put Red Wing back up 44-42.
East Ridge’s size paid off late in regulation as 6-foot-5 forward Ryan Mathis tied the game at 44-44 on a putback.
Trying to score in their final possession, the Raptors’ defense blew up Red Wing’s game-winning try as Jon Sevlie’s 3-pointer at the buzzer fell short, sending the game to overtime.
“What we want to do in that situation is have someone try and attack the basket,” Toivonen said. “They took away that penetration and we weren’t able to get a very good shot. We should have gotten a better shot at the end.”
Luke Bryant gave the Wingers the early overtime lead on a layup, but Jake Knupp responded with a basket of his own and drew a foul. He hit the free throw to put East Ridge up 47-46.
Sevlie, who finished with 12 points, gave Red Wing a 48-47 lead after sinking a pair of free throws with 1:10 left.
Going just 3 of 15 from 3-point range, Parker Moquist hit a dagger for the Raptors, drilling a 3-pointer with 43 seconds remaining. After the Wingers missed a pair of free throws, Ryan Mathis cemented the game on a layup with 15.8 seconds remaining, putting East Ridge up 52-48.
“The good news is we shot 29 percent and we almost won,” Toivonen said. “The bad news is if you shoot 35 percent, you shoot a little better than we did, and you’re walking out of here with a win.”
Now 1-2 on the season, Red Wing continues its five-game home stand Thursday, hosting Albert Lea.
“We just got to keep our heads up,” Buck said. “We played tough defense the whole game. (East Ridge is) a good team, but we got to keep looking forward.”