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Raiders Hold Off Mustangs For District Semi-Final Win

By Staff | Feb 26, 2009

ARMSTRONG – The post season continues for the Raiders of Ruthven-Ayrshire. Despite a late game surge by the Mustangs of Armstrong-Ringsted, the Raiders came away with a 54-49 win in Class 1A District semi-final action.

The win puts the Raiders into the District championship game tonight (Thursday) at Milford when the Raiders take on th Mustangs of George-Little Rock in a 7 p.m. game at Okoboji High School.

Ruthven-Ayrshire had taken the previous meetings of the two Cornbelt Conference foes, and on Tuesday night, the Mustangs seemed poised for a possible upset bid.

The game started very evenly, with both teams trading buckets for most of the opening quarter untile Ruthven-Ayrshire broke an 8-8 tie with a pair of buckets for a 12-8 lead to end the quarter.

The Raiders got back-to-back three-pointers from Bradley Geelan and Cody Zielstra to take a 19-12 lead just into the second quarter, but Armstrong-Ringsted would fight their way back into the game as the Raiders’ offense sputtered a bit and the defense got a little out of synch.

After the score was tied up at 19-19, the Raiders regrouped and made some free throws to take a 25-20 lead at the break.

Ruthven-Ayrshire came out inspired to start the second half and quickly got out and a way from the Mustangs, but AR would chip away to trail by eight points as the Raiders took a 41-33 lead to start the final frame.

Armstrong-Ringsted took advantage of a letdown by the Raiders and held RA?scoreless for the first four minutes of the final quarter, cutting the Raiders’ lead to 41-38, but Ruthven-Ayrshire would make free throws down the stretch to pull out the 54-49 victory

Balanced scoring would once again serve the Raiders well, with Al Japenga scoring 14 points, most coming at the line, 10 of 14, in the final minutes of the game.

Cody Zielstra added 13 points and Brad Geelan chipped in 12 markers, while Carl Jensen tallied eight points.

Ryan Sikora would score six points, but pulled down 15 rebounds for the Raiders and Mark Geelan added one point.

“We played in spurts against them,” noted Ruthven-Ayrshire Head Coach Randy Hough. “We’d play good defense for a while and then we’d let them right back into it.. But, we were able to knock down our freethrows at the end of the game to earn the win.”