Anoka-Ramsey men pull out narrow win to lift title trophy

by Samantha Lefebvre
Sports Writer

Anoka-Ramsey Community College mens’ basketball finished off their second day of the holiday classic on Saturday, Jan 7. with a one point victory over No. 18 ranked NJCAA Division III North Dakota State College of Science Wildcats (NDSCS). The Golden Rams pulled off a 82-81 nail biter in the last few seconds of the game.

Golden Rams freshman Lucas Barraud, right, dribbles around a defender Jan. 6. Photo by Samantha Lefebvre

In the end it came down to NDSCS scoring off their last possession with less than 20 seconds left on the clock. They ran down the clock and Wildcats top scorer, Tommy Woolridge, attempted a game winning three point shot from the top of the key but missed just as the buzzer sounded, securing the win for the Golden Rams.

“It was a great college basketball game,” Anoka-Ramsey Head Coach Ron Larson said. “A lot of intensity, a lot of great plays by both teams. Yeah just a fun game, a fun game for everybody.”

The two teams were neck and neck throughout the entire game and at no point did one team have more than a seven point advantage.

NDSCS was 15-1 overall coming into the game, with their only loss coming from Gillette Community College during a tournament in Wyoming.

The first half started off slow for both teams making less than half of the shots attempted. ARCC shot 38.2 percent from the field while NDSCS converted 41.9 percent. The Golden Rams went off the court at halftime trailing by four points, 41-37.

For the first 14 minutes of the second half NDSCS continued to maintain a four to six point lead. Then with about six minutes left on the clock, the Golden Rams switched to a zone defense.  The switch helped them stall the Wildcat offense for the majority of the final six minutes, with the exception of NDSCS Woolridge’s three-point shot while being fouled and converted for the four-point play on the first possession after the switch.

Big shots were made by both teams in the final three minutes starting with Anoka-Ramsey guard J.J. Butler sinking a three-pointer, finally giving the Golden Rams a lead. But NDSCS answered back and the teams exchanged the lead multiple times in the final minutes.

With less than a minute remaining Anoka-Ramsey took the lead by one point making it 82-81.

The Golden Rams called a timeout with 20 seconds left to set up one final score, but Michael Stephens was fouled and went to the free throw line with 18 seconds remaining. Both of Stephens attempts rimmed out, giving NDSCS one more chance to score. The

Wildcats ran the clock down and passed to Woolridge who missed a game winning three point shot from the top of the key as time expired, preserving the win for the Golden Rams.

“The game was evenly matched as possible,” Larson said. “I mean they could have made the last shot and we would have lost. It was two good basketball teams battling their hearts out.”

NDSCS was held to an identical shooting percentage of 41.9 percent in the second half, while ARCC increased their percentage to 57.1.

ARCC’s Lemuel Doe led the team in scoring with 23 points on 9-of-13 shooting from the field. Butler also put up major points, 16, and was 4-of-6 from behind the arc.

Corey Barrett also up up big numbers with 14 points, six rebounds, and three blocked shots.

Chris Harmon scored 11 points and went 5-of-7 from the free throw line. He also led the team with eight rebounds.

The Golden Rams also defeated United Tribes Technical College 74-52 the day before.  The sweep last weekend gives the Golden Rams a 10-3 record as they enter MCAC Southern Division play.  They were on the road for their first conference game at Riverland on Jan. 11.