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Raptors feed off crowd, drop Cards

Playing in the Carlton gym for the only time this season Friday, the Raptors defeated Cromwell-Wright 80-72 in a homecoming tour de force.

"I was pretty nervous going into the game," said Shawn Filipiak, head coach of the combined Carlton/Wrenshall team. "This was the first time we hosted the game in Carlton this season, but the boys came out hot and firing on all cylinders and then kind of just settled into the game."

Key for the Raptors was the hot start by guard Carter Woodall, who entered the game needing 5 points to join the 1,000-point club.

"Carter came out and hit his first two shots, which were 3-pointers. That put him over a thousand points right away to start the game," said Filipiak.

The crowd was also a factor.

"It was loud and chaotic and packed, which makes for a great atmosphere," said Cardinals head coach Bill Pocernich. "We didn't react well in that environment to start the game, and then we had to try and claw our way back."

Carlton/Wrenshall eased out to a 39-23 halftime lead as both Woodall and Jackson Korpela each scored 10 first-half points. Woodall led the Raptors with 24 points in the game.

Brady Dahl helped to lead the Cards in a second-half comeback bid. Dahl finished with a game-high 26 points, along with 18 points from Dylan Nyberg and 17 from Tucker Korpi.

"We were able to cut the lead down to five late in the game, but Carlton/Wrenshall is a good team and they were able to close it out," Pocernich said.

Luukas Korpela and Jackson Korpela finished with 14 and 12 points, respectively, for Carlton/Wrenshall. Rounding out the scoring for the Raptors were Sam Ojibway with 9 points, A.J. Olesen and Uriah Louks with eight each, Judah Sjodin with three, and Gavin LeBrasseur with two points.

The win improved the Raptors record to 17-7.

"If we finish the season strong, we have a shot at 20 wins," Filipiak said. "I couldn't be happier with how things have come together for the kids. They've worked hard and they are a joy to be around."

Drew Nyberg nearly joined Dahl, Dylan Nyberg and Korpi in double digits, with 9 points from the Cards while Brody Johnson and Tanner Collman had 2 points each for Cromwell-Wright.

The loss dropped the Cards record to 15-9 on the season.

"We are a young team, but despite the loss we've been able to accomplish our regular season goals," Pocernich said. "We won the conference for the small schools, and overall it's been a good year. We still have some goals we want to achieve in the playoffs, so we want to finish the regular season strong and get ready come playoff time."

Seedings will take place for sectional playoffs over the weekend as teams wrapped up their regular season games this week.