Raiders Fall to Reigning Big 9 Champs

Northfield head coach Matt Christenson talks things over with referee in tough loss to Owatonna, 88-53. Photo: Jim Wellbrock

By AJ Reisetter

The reigning Big 9 champions, the Owatonna Huskies, came into Northfield Thursday night and proved why they are still favorites to win the conference and return to the state tournament. The Huskies defeated the Raiders 88-53 and dropped Northfield to 5-4 on the season and 3-2 in the Big 9. Owatonna improved to 7-3 overall and 4-2 in the conference.

The Raiders jumped on the ball early in the first half going up 7-3 in the first three minutes of the game. The defense played stingy, forcing a total of 10 turnovers on the night and created opportunities in the paint on the other end.

Kayden Oakland three-pointer

However, that was the largest lead the Raiders would have all night as Owatonna flipped a switch halfway through the first and ended the half with 53 points. 20 of those came from senior guard Ayden Walter who ended the night with 25 points.

Ayden Walter three-pointer

In the second half, the Raiders jumped on the ball early again. Austin Koep, Sam Scherer, and Soren Richardson dropped three straight three-pointers to close in on Owatonna. However, the Huskies flipped the switch again and ran away with the game scoring 35 more in the half while holding Northfield to 26.

The three-point shot was Owatonna’s best friend against the Raider’s defense. Northfield covered the paint well but allowed 11 three-pointers, seven of which came from the hands of Walter who went 7/8 from beyond the arc. The Huskies went 15/20 from the free-throw line in the second straight game that the Raiders allowed their opponent to take 20+ free throws.

Walter and Isaiah Mahal exchange three-pointers

After a 40-point game against Albert Lea on Tuesday, Richardson was kept quiet, dropping a season-low 9 points. Richardson seemed to have injured his left hand while going for a steal in the second half but stayed in the game until being taken out late, once the game was out of reach.

Junior forward Austin Koep led the Raiders in scoring with 15 points and also grabbed eight rebounds.

Koep to Dom DiMaggio

Northfield will look to bounce back Friday, January 13th when they travel to Winona to battle the Winhawks in another Big 9 matchup.