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East Ridge boys basketball: Roseville beats Raptors in battle for SEC supremacy

East Ridge junior Brad Simonson looks for an open teammate. Simonson and the Raptors went 2-1 last week, falling to third-ranked Roseville, but rebounding with wins over Cretin-Derham Hall and Chanhassen.

The East Ridge boys basketball team may have taken one step back last week. However, it also took two steps forward.

The Raptors suffered their first Suburban East Conference loss of the season on Tuesday, falling 84-58 at No. 3-ranked Roseville, but rebounded with a pair of wins - over Cretin-Derham Hall and Chanhassen - to improve to 12-2 overall on the year.

"Roseville is too good of a team to not bring your 'A' game," East Ridge head coach Paul Virgin said. "Our kids were more upset with the way they played than with the result. We are rededicating ourselves to get better so when they come to the Perch we will play better."

In the loss to Roseville, the Raiders ran out to a 46-26 lead at the half and never looked back. Roseville (12-3; 6-1 SEC) scored 18 points off of the fast break and 10 points from offensive rebounds. The Raiders shot 54 percent from the field. East Ridge (12-2; 6-1 SEC) struggled to keep up, shooting 37 percent from the field and 18 percent from 3-point range.

"When you panic and are out of your comfort zone these numbers tend to be the norm," Virgin said.

East Ridge sophomore guard Sid Tomes led the Raptors in scoring with 13 points. No other player was in double figures for the Raptors. Junior forward Brian Ishola and senior center Conrad Sexe each scored nine points. Roseville was led by senior Jordan Burich, who scored a game-high 26 points and had 13 rebounds, along with sophomore guard Kobe Critchley, who had 16 points and six assists.

East Ridge bounced back from the loss with a big 59-56 home-court win over Cretin-Derham Hall (6-8; 2-5 SEC).

"We came out and played really well against Cretin," Virgin said. "Our team is still so young but now we need to learn how to separate ourselves from our opponent. We are winning a lot of close games which is a good learning experience but now we must take those good starts and put the game out of reach."

The Raptors shot 57 percent from the field and a blistering 63 percent from 3-point range in the win.

"We shot the ball well against Cretin, but more importantly our defense was very good especially from Brian Ishola and Brad Simonson on Sam Neuman," Virgin said.

Tomes led all players with a game-high 17 points and junior center Ryan Keenan had 10 points and five rebounds off the bench for the Raptors.

"Ryan (Keenan) came off the bench and played really well. He is getting better each week and is really coming into his own out there on the court. His learning curve is high right now and when he get rolling down low he is difficult to defend."

East Ridge capped the week with a 65-56 non-conference win at home over Chanhassen (6-8).

Ishola led the way with a game-high 21 points. Junior guard Jake Knupp scored 13 points and Tomes chipped in 11 points in the win.

Knupp hit a 3-pointer with roughly three minutes to play that all but sealed the win for the Raptors.

"Chanhassen is a very good team," Virgin said. "We were tired as it was our sixth game in 12 days, but we found some energy from Brad Simonson off the bench. Brad always plays his heart out. That kind of effort and energy is contagious. Once we get everyone playing at that level we will be tough to beat."

East Ridge took on a solid Stillwater team (8-4; 4-3 SEC) on Tuesday, Jan. 22, after the Bulletin went to print. Next, the Raptors travel to rival Park (2-12; 0-7 SEC) on Friday, Jan. 25. Tip-off is set for 7:15 p.m.

"We are happy with our 12-2 start and being tied for the conference lead, but in no way are we satisfied with our play," Virgin said. "We know we can play better and our hope is that we continue to grow as individuals but more importantly as a team. We have the skill and attitude for it now we just have to execute."