The Central Lakes College men's basketball team was handed the Southern Division season championship Saturday when previously-winless Ridgewater (0-11) upset M State, 81-69, while the Raiders ousted Rochester from its share of the title, 69-54. Heading into the Saturday showdown, CLC, Rochester, and M State (Fergus Falls) were all at 8-3 in the Division. The Raiders clinched the top seed of the Minnesota College Athletic Conference tournament March 2-4 with their 9-3 mark (24-3 overall, ranked fourth in NJCAA DIII poll). The starting line-up of Michael Farrington (shown, 15), Maurice Hernandez (13), Brandon Davis (12), Ronnie Kornbaum (11), and Kwamaine Johnson (10) provided a sizzling first-half comeback after the Yellowjackets started out the aggressor with motivation. CLC's reserve strength played a major role vs. the less-supported Yellowjacket bench. CLC led, 35-20, at the half on 52% shooting and much better free-throw accuracy than in the second half. For the game, the home team shot 51% and 33% from 3-pointland. The visitors made just 2 of 17 from outside the arc and shot only 31%, largely due to outstanding CLC defense and rebounding (39-32 edge). Michael had four big steals and Kwamaine provided 5 key assists, while Mo handled the rebounding with a game-high 13, all on the defensive end. Next: MCAC tournament at Anoka-Ramsey (Coon Rapids) Friday-Sunday, where a state championship carries with it the ultimate prize: A trip to New York for the Elite Eight national tournament March 15-17. Women end season
The CLC women finished their season with a well-played effort but their seventh straight loss, a 71-58 setback to the Yallowjackets of Rochester. After leading, 35-34, at halftime, CLC was outscored in the last 20 minutes, 37-23. Nikki Pearson led all scorers with 24 points. She had five rebounds and four assists before fouling out with 23 seconds left. Jalynn Lamb added 16 points and 7 rebounds. CLC finished with a record of 8 wins, 17 losses (last place at 2-10 in the MCAC South). Rochester went to 20-6 overall and took second in the Division with a 9-3 mark.