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Men's basketball: Big-time 3s nail it for Warriors

Malik Westerfield hits 2 treys in the final minute of Ridgewater’s 71-62 win over Central Lakes.

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Ridgewater men's basketball sophomore guard Terbuto Ochothow defends the Warriors' basket during a game against Central Lakes on Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2022, at Ridgewater College.
Michael Lyne / West Central Tribune
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WILLMAR — Early on in Ridgewater’s matchup against Central Lakes, Malik Westerfield felt he wasn’t hitting his shots, but it didn’t stop him from putting his stamp on the Warriors’ victory Wednesday.

Westerfield, a sophomore transfer guard from Davenport, Iowa, hit two three-pointers with less than a minute to go to cement Ridgewater’s 71-62 win. Before his two threes, the Warriors led 63-60.

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“I just did what I think is my best attribute, shooting,” said Westerfield, who shot 7 of 19 from the field and 4-for-9 from beyond the arc en route to a team-high 20 points. “It felt amazing, looking at the crowd, having everybody cheering, and looking at coach, he was smiling. It just felt good.”

Head coach Nathan Thooft was most impressed with his Warriors’ energy in the win.

“We have all the scouting reports and have all the basketball stuff, but when we have energy and communicate, we fly around,” Thooft said. “The guys on the bench are awesome. I love it.”

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Ridgewater men's basketball sophomore guard Malik Westerfield celebrates a three-pointer late in the fourth quarter during a game against Central Lakes on Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2022, at Ridgewater College.
Michael Lyne / West Central Tribune

Ridgewater led 34-33 at halftime. Thooft and Westerfield were pleased with the way the team’s defense competed.

Thooft mentioned how allowing 62 points in the Minnesota College Athletic Conference is “really good.”

“We just brought a lot of energy. It’s our first home game,” Westerfield said. “Defensively, we stepped up. They had some big guys and our rebounding — we haven’t been good in that department lately, but we stepped up today in a good way.”

Malik Westerfield, Warriors defense power Ridgewater in 71-62 victory.
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The Warriors out-rebounded Central Lakes 39-37. Twenty-three of the team’s 39 rebounds came on the defensive end.

Thooft likes where his 2-1 team’s mentality so far.

“The way that they bought in and competing right now is really fun. We can smile,” Thooft said. “We can have fun because we know we’re competing at the right level. … When we do that, it makes it really fun to come every day and it’s fun for them to come every day in a loud gym.”

Ridgewater plays the Concordia College JV at 7 p.m. Thursday in Willmar.

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Ridgewater men's basketball sophomore wing Jaylyn Clardy defends the Warriors' basket during a game against Central Lakes on Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2022, at Ridgewater College.
Michael Lyne / West Central Tribune

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Ridgewater 71, Central Lakes 62

Central Lakes (0-3)      33   29 — 62
Ridgewater (2-1)          34   37 — 71

CENTRAL LAKES - Scoring: Anthony Burch 5, Drew White 2, TJ Kornbaum 10, Davion Jackson 11, David Hosea 8, Carrson Jones 2, Denzil Walker 20, Joshua Polk 2, Broden Fleisher 2  … 3-point shots: Burch 1-5, Jackson 1-1, Walker 2-4 … Rebound leaders: Burch 7, Hosea 6 … Assist leader: Burch 4 … Steal leaders:: Walker 3, Burch 2, Jackson 2 ... Block leader: Kornbaum 1

RIDGEWATER - Scoring: Rodney Lubin 2, Jaylyn Clardy 18, Malik Westerfield 20, Tanner Swanson 1, Tyson Dyer 2, Deondre Wallace 9, Deron Lacy 2, Terbuto Ochothow 8, Noah Wilts 3, Trevor Dorenbosch 6 … 3-point shots: Clardy 1-3, Westerfield 4-9, Wallace 1-3, Wilts 1-4 … Rebound leaders:: Clardy 9, Westerfield 6, Ochothow 5 … Assist leader: Clardy 3 … Steal leaders: Westerfield 5, Lacy 3 ... Block leaders: Clardy 1, Westerfield 1

Michael Lyne joined the West Central Tribune as a sports reporter in May 2022, following his graduation from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, where he graduated with a bachelors degree in journalism and a minor degree in Spanish studies.

You may reach Michael at mlyne@wctrib.com, or by calling (320) 214-4345.
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