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College Basketball: Ridgewater men open season Friday on road

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WILLMAR — Bob Knutson starts his eighth season as head coach at Ridgewater College with three returning starters: guard Terrance Lockett (Dwyer, Fla.), post Beau Herrig (Mountain Lake) and guard Melvin Kromah (Robbinsdale Cooper).

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Lockett averaged 14.5 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assist a game last season. Herrig scored at a 7.0 clip with 9.2 rpg while Kromah scored 11.2 ppg with 2.1 steals a game.

The Warriors open at 6:30 p.m. today at Collegeville vs. the St. John’s University JV.

Knutson will also start guard Joe Leuze (Willmar) and forward Kiree Robinson (Hutchinson), both first-year Warriors.

Also ready to go are post Eric Smith of Lac qui Parle Valley and guard DeJuan Curry of Freeport, Ill.

The Warriors finished 12-15 overall and 6-8 in the MCAC Central last season. Knutson has an 84-102 career record in college. He formerly coached at New London-Spicer.

New this year: officials will be calling the defense for hand-checking, grabbing and holding. The object is to free up the offense and increase scoring.

Knutson feels the increased scrutiny is a good idea, though it almost certainly means more fouls will be called, at least to start.

“[Defensive] players, especially inside, will have to learn again to move their feet and keep their hands up,” Knutson said. “Isn’t that the way you’re supposed to play defense?”

Charging/blocking will also be watched more closely with the advantage going to the player with the ball.

The first home game for Ridgewater is next Friday against the same St. John’s JV squad.

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Rand Middleton

Covers Willmar and area high schools and Ridgewater College, plus amateur baseball, stock car racing and fitness events in summer. Writes weekly column since 1980. Began working in radio and at weekly newspaper in Munising, Michigan, in 1972. Started parttime at West Central Daily Tribune Sept. 1974. Fulltime beginning Feb. 1979. Married to Tribune news clerk Donna (Miller) Middleton, formerly of Kerkhoven. 2 grown children. 

(320) 214-4334
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