Raiders Advance To 1A District Quarterfinal With Win Over NF
RUTHVEN – Every basketball team hopes that they peak at the right time of the season to carry their fortunes onward down the tournament trail. Add in the unknowns of meeting some unfamiliar opponents along the way, and the heightened excitement of tournaments and you have instant excitement on the hardwood.
For the Ruthven-Ayrshire Raiders, the season has been building all along towards the post season, and it seems as if the Raiders are hitting the target, starting their post season with a 64-50 win over the Newell-Fonda Mustangs in a Class 1A Quarterfinal matchup Wednesday night in Laurens.
While the final score doesn’t seem to show it, the Raiders didn’t get off to the most solid of starts in their meeting with the Mustangs.
Ruthven-Ayrshire battled some tournament first-round jitters in the opening quarter Thursday night, but still managed to work their way out to a 17-10 advantage over the Mustangs when the first quarter came to a close.
After getting that opening quarter under their belts, the Raiders started playing thir brand of basketball, running their offense deliberately and working to get good quality shots. The two teams would trade baskets, and even though Newell-Fonda outscored the Raiders 17-15 in the second period, Ruthven-Ayrshire held a 32-27 lead at the half-time break
But in the second half, Ruthven-Ayrshire simply took over the game. With the offense working hard to get good shots, and getting the shots to fall, the Ruthven-Ayrshire defense was doing its part as well, holding Newell-Fonda to just eight points in the third quarter, while scoring 13 of their own to take a ten-point, 45-35 lead to start the final quarter.
With the offense hitting on all cylinders, Ruthven-Ayrshire would go on to outscore Newell-Fonda by a 19-15 tally down the stretch to record the 64-50 win and advancement into the 1A District semi final.
For the Raiders, Ryan Sikora led the offense with 23 points on the night and grabbed nine rebounds, while teammate Mark Geelan tallied the double-double with 16 points and 13 rebounds. Colton Bakken added 14 points and pulled down six rebounds, while Trevin Enderson added five points. Logan Fischer chipped in four points and Zach Loring rounded out the scoring with two points.
Ryan Sikora dished out eight assists to his teammates in the contest, which saw the Raiders make 26 of 49 shots from inside the two-point line for 53 percent shooting. Ruthven-Ayrshire made just one of four from the three line, 25 percent, and canned 11 of 19 free throw attempts for 58 percent accuracy.
“The game started out a little slow, probably because of first-game jitters,” admitted Ruthven-Ayrshire Head Coach Randy Hough. “I thought we played very well in the second half, and pretty much controlled the back boards. Once again, we had very balanced scoring out of Ryan, Mark and Colton.”
The Raiders will now advance into tonight (Tuesday’s) Class 1A District semi-final matchup against Laurens-Marathon in a 7 p.m. contest at the Spencer High School Fieldhouse.
The winner of the District semi-final will play Thursday night, Feb. 25, in Emmetsburg at 7 p.m. for the District championship.