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Tribune photo by Rand Middleton Ridgewater College players and bench react to the go-ahead basket with 14 second left in the second half as Central Lakes guard Kahreem Horsley (31) signals for a timeout Saturday in Willmar. The Warriors, from left, are Melvin Kromah (2), Terrance Lockett and Beau Herrig (40), whose steal moments earlier set up Zac Pendleton’s winning shot.

Men's basketball: Warriors beat CLC in final seconds

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WILLMAR — Boom!

Zak Pendleton drained an 18-footer from the top of the free-throw circle to catapult Ridgewater College over Central Lakes 70-69 on Saturday afternoon.

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The basket came with 14 seconds left off Beau Herrig’s steal of a Raiders’ inbound pass followed by an assist by Neil Helgeson that found Pendleton in the open circling to the top of the key.

The basket was the Warriors first lead since the opening minute and completed a game-long deficit that found the hometown team down by as many as 18 points.

Certainly stunned by the ravenous rally, the Raiders called two timeouts in the last 14 seconds. After the second pause, Jonas Green and Neil Helgeson hemmed in Brandon Davis along the sideline and denied the Raiders a last shot

It was Ridgewater’s third win in the closing moments at home this season and second within 24 hours. Helgeson’s basket in the closing seconds beat Fond du Lac on Friday.

Coach Bob Knutson was effusive in his praise in post-game locker room.

“That was an amazing game,” the Warriors’ coach beamed. “You beat a very good team. You guys are rock stars. You increased your intensity in a game that was like a playoff game where the officials let the teams play.”

Pendleton’s bank shot gave him a team-high 14 points. He also drew charging calls that fouled out both Kevin Kuelfer and Brent Koehler, each standouts when they played for Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa.

Both teams started the game with .500 records. The Raiders (3-4) shot 53 percent on the way to 44-33 lead. In the first 20 minutes, they sank 7 of 13 three-point shots but the second half were just 1 of 10 on the bonus shots.

Besides the crucial steal, Herrig supplied 13 rebounds and 12 points. Terrance Lockett added 12 points and 9 rebounds.

In his only visit to the line, Melvin Kromah sank two free throws with 22 seconds left to get Ridgewater within one, 69-68.

Ridgewater finished with a 48-36 edge in rebounds and made 14 of 20 at the free-throw line compared to the Raiders’ 3 of 5.

The Warriors (5-4) are at the Central Lakes tourney this coming weekend to conclude the non-division schedule.

Ridgewater 70, Central Lakes 69

Central Lakes (3-4)    44 25 — 69

Ridgewater (5-4)    33 37 — 70

CENTRAL LAKES COLLEGE, BRAINERD – 29-64 FG (8-23 3-pt); 3-5 FT; 36 rebounds; 22 fouls … Scoring: Andre Thomas 9, Tyler Flugum 11, Nate Holms 5, Bryan Gichaba 8, Brandon Davis 13, Kahreem Horsley 2, John Jedneak 21  … 3-point shots: Thomas 1, Flugum 2, Holms 1, Davis 1, Jedneak 3 … Rebound leaders: Jedneak 8, Davis 5, Kevin Kuefler 6 … Assist leaders: Thomas 5 … Steal leaders: Flugum 2 … Blocked shots: Jedneak 3

RIDGEWATER COLLEGE, WILLMAR – 26-68 FG (4-11 3-pt); 14-20 FT; 48 rebounds; 11 fouls … Scoring: Zak Pendleton 14, Melvin Kromah 6, Neil Helgeson 4, Terrance Lockett 12, Jordan Schwarz 4, Zach Henning 3, Jonas Green 8, Cameron Edmonds-Halvorson 3, Jeremy Olson 4, Beau Herrig 12 … 3-point shots: Pendleton 2, Henning 1, Edmonds-Halvorson 1 … Rebound leaders: Kromah 8, Lockett 9, Green 5, Herrrig 13 … Assist leaders: Herrig 5, Kromah 4 … Steal leaders: Helgeson 3

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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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