By Johann Schroeer
Before Tuesday’s game against Rochester John Marshall, Raider head coach Matt Christensen made sure to let his team know to not underestimate the visiting Rockets. While they aren’t the team they were from a few years ago that were led by the Hurt brothers, they are still dangerous. The 4-9 Rockets came in having lost 5 in a row, while the 9-4 Raiders had won 7 out of their last 8. Northfield got off to a smooth start, never trailing in the first half. Junior forward Austin Koep didn’t stop scoring down low, Senior forward Dom DiMaggio cleaned up any mistakes with dominant offensive rebounding, and the defense kept the Rockets quiet. That changed with 2 minutes left in the first half, when JM standout Logan Tuckner connected on a couple of 3s. The Raiders went into the half only up 1. In the second half, JM kept up where they left off, keeping their lead for the first 8 minutes, as Tuckner couldn’t miss. JM got into foul trouble, as the Raiders entered the bonus with over 11 minutes left to go. That paired with Senior guard Soren Richardson heating up, the Raiders didn’t look back from there. The Raiders would sink their shots from the charity stripe and hold off the Rockets, winning the ballgame 75-68. After only shooting 3 in the first half, Northfield finished with 21 free throw attempts, connecting on 16 of them. Koep led the Raiders (10-4, 8-2 in Big 9) with 27 on 11/17 shooting, while Tuckner quietly led the Rockets (4-10, 3-7 in Big 9) with 33, with 15 of them from downtown. The Raiders look forward to next week, when they will play a back-to-back against Mankato East, who currently leads the Big 9 with a record of 12-2.