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College men's basketball: Ridgewater takes win with consistency, execution

DJ Brown and Deron Lacy combine for 57 points in 105-80 win

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Ridgewater guard DJ Brown goes up for a contested jumper against Minnesota West defenders Sam Paulson (left) and Jabril Muktar (11) on Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022 at Ridgewater.
Matthew Curry/ West Central Tribune
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WILLMAR — Ridgewater men’s basketball head coach Nathan Thooft described the Warriors’ 103-80 victory over Minnesota West on Wednesday into two words: consistency, execution.

The Warriors’ consistency to grab rebounds, make plays on defense, and have strong offensive ball movement resulted in the victory.

Ridgewater out-rebounded the Bluejays 46-44, but their passing consistency resulted in the Warriors doubling the Bluejays in assists, 22-11. The Warriors shot nearly 57% from the field and 33% from 3-point range. Minnesota West shot nearly 41% from the field and 24% from behind the arc.

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Ridgewater wing Quinton Jollymore drives to the hoop at the end of the first half against Minnesota West on Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022 at Ridgewater.
Matthew Curry/ West Central Tribune

Three of Ridgewater’s five starting five totaled over 20 points.

“We had a lot of guys step up tonight and it was just really fun,” Thooft said. “Our guys have been relying on each other and we executed really well. We executed our game plan, our system, and we moved the ball as well as we have all season long.”

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After nearly having a double-double in the Warriors’ previous game against Western Tech, DJ Brown led the Warriors with 29 points. The 6-foot-1 guard from Pensacola, Florida, did it on 60% shooting and also had 12 assists. He also tallied seven rebounds and a steal in 38 minutes played.

“DJ is getting double-digits assists commonly lately and it’s against teams in our conference, which is exactly what you want,” Thooft said. “You want to be playing your best ball against conference opponents because that leads into when it all matters most in the postseason.”

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Ridgewater guard Deron Lacy gets fouled going up for a layup against Minnesota West defender London Campbell on Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022 at Ridgewater.
Matthew Curry/ West Central Tribune

Warriors’ shooting guard Deron Lacy totaled 28 points on nearly 63% shooting with six assists, four assists and two steals in 35 minutes played.

Lacy is a 5-11 guard from Freeport, Illinois.

Ridgewater found its energy early with Brown starting the night off with a corner 3-pointer.

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Ridgewater sophomore Cartier Bickley pushes past his Minnesota West defender before scoring a layup on Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022 at Ridgewater.
Matthew Curry/ West Central Tribune

With Ridgewater leading 20-15, Brown and Lacy went on to score Ridgewater’s next 18 points to build a 38-29 lead with just over five minutes to play in the first half.

“We were really just focused on shot selection,” Thooft said. “When we stay patient and get the shot that we want, that we know we’re prepared and set and ready to make, that’s when we’re dangerous.”

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Ridgewater center Easton Davis gets blocked out by Minnesota West defender Sam Paulson for a rebound on Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022 at Ridgewater.
Matthew Curry/ West Central Tribune

Ridgewater is now on a two-game winning streak.

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“It’s good when we can string some consistency together,” Thooft said. “Down the stretch that is going to be big.”

Ridgewater plays Riverland Community College at 3 p.m. Saturday in Austin.

Ridgewater 103, Minnesota West 80

Minnesota West (3-12) 37 43 — 80

Ridgewater (12-3) 46 57 — 105

MINNESOTA WEST - Scoring: Tyvorus Lawton 26, Cortney Ligon 12, Jabril Muktor 4, Landon Campbell 15, Sam Paulson 7, Steve Ndumbe 5, Dre Bezoni 3, Jacob Dorian 8  … 3-point shots: Ligon 1, Campbell 2, Ndumbe 1, Bezoni 1 … Rebound leaders: Paulson 7, Arjun Bassi 6 … Assist leaders: Ligon 4, Paulson 3 … Steal leader: Ligon 2 ... Block leader: none 

RIDGEWATER - Scoring: Tyson Dyer 23, DJ Brown 29, Cartier Bickley 13, Deron Lacy 28, Easton Davis 2, Quinton Jollymore 6, Daniel Hosseini 2 … 3-point shots: Dyer 1, Brown 5, Bickley 1, Lacy 2 … Rebound leaders: Brown 7, Bickley 7, Lacy 6 … Assist leaders: Brown 12, Dyer 4, Lacy 4 … Steal leaders: Jollymore 3, Lacy 2 ... Block leader: Davis 1, Jollymore 1

Matthew Curry is a sports reporter and photographer for the West Central Tribune.
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