by Dan Voigt
GRAETTINGER - It was a long, tough night for the Raider basketball teams of Ruthven-Ayrshire/Graettinger-Terril on Friday night as they dropped both games of a doubleheader to North Sentral Kossuth/ Armstrong-Ringsted.
The Raider girls lost by a 69-33 score while the Raider boys fell in a 56-44 contest Friday night.
RA/GT’s Alesha Sikora battles for possession in Friday’s matchup with NSK/AR at Graettinger. Sikora would lead the Raiders with nine points in the 69-33 loss to the Eagles. --Dan Voigt photo
The girls contest started out slowly for Ruthven-Ayrshire/Graettinger-Terril, as the Raiders were only able to tally three points in the opening quarter of play, while NSK/AR slipped out to a 13-3 advantage when the quarter ended.
An aggressive, full court defense by the Eagles would hamper the Raiders throughout the game, as NSK/AR forced several steals and turnovers that would lead to a 36-12 advantage over Ruthven-Ayrshire/Graettinger-Terril at the intermission.
The Raiders would double their score in the third quarter as they were able to make some adjustments during the half-time break and stayed closer to NSK/AR, as the Eagles only scored 17 points in the third frame to take a 53-24 lead over the Raiders to start the final period.
RA/GT would continue to battle hard in the final quarter b ut couldn't get closer than the 69-33 final tally.
The Raiders' offense was led by Alesha Sikora's nine-point effort, while Cassy Hampson and Tiff Harris both managed six points each. Brooke Hoffman added five points to the effort, while Alex Olesen came off the bench to score four points. Grace Skattebo tallied three points and Emily Moran added a bucket for two points to close out the scoring.
The nightcap of the twin-bill resembled a football game at times as the Raiders and the Eagle boys squared off.
Physical play was the rule of the night, with an abundance of fouls, as the whistles started early and would fill the air through the entire contest.
The Raiders got off to a shaky start as they struggled to get shots off against an aggressive defense from the Eagles. However, the Raiders put up some defense of their own, as the score stood at 13-8 at the end of the first quarter.
Ruthven-Ayrshire/Graettinger-Terril would get some shots to fall in the second quarter of the contest, as they cut their deficit to just three points at the intermission, trailing by a 30-27 margin,
The physical play would begin to factor into the game even more in the second half as several of the Raiders found themselves in foul trouble late in the third quarter. With most of the starting five with at least three fouls against them, RA/GT found themselves down by a half-dozen to end the third frame, 42-36.
The foul situation began to wreak havoc with the Raiders in the final quarter, as Dylan Smith, Carter Williamson, Colin Leiting and Damon Morris all fouled out before the end of the contest as NSK/AR went on to take the 56-44 victory.
For the Raiders, Dylan Smith led the offense with 16 points before his early exit from the contest. Colin Leiting added eight points, while Carter Williamson scored six points and Mitch Girres chipped in five points. Austin Dyer added four points, with Damon Morris tallying three points and Garrett Parker adding two points.
"Our poor rebounding and inability to shoot free throws led to our demise,"?noted RA/GT?Head Coach Randy Hough. "We moved the ball fairly well but missed too many easy shots."