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Contributions aplenty as Raiders roll in season opener

Contributions aplenty as  Raiders roll in season opener Contributions aplenty as  Raiders roll in season opener


The long-range shooting percentage wasn’t what they expect it will eventually be, the turnover numbers crept higher than they wanted and there were other technical items to fix.

But the contributions the Medford Raiders got from everyone who played meaningful minutes outweighed all of that in a 73-63 season-opening victory Tuesday night over D.C. Everest.

Five players hit double figures in the scoring column, the Raiders had 22 assists on 28 made field goals and Medford used runs of 19-0 in the first half and 16-3 in the second half to run away from the Evergreens and earn the non-conference win.

“It all comes to what we do defensively,” Medford head coach Ryan Brown said. “That seems to be kind of a signature of our teams. When we get to that point defensively it leads to our offense and we’re able to go on those runs. All of our best teams over the last four or five years have always had that ability to go on that run. They hit a couple of shots early. I think that woke us up real quick and told us we have to do the little things that win games. Once we got stops and got some scores, I think we just kind of got rolling.”

Brady Hupf and Logan Baumgartner each scored 12 points to lead the Raiders. Baumgartner added 10 rebounds for a double-double and had six assists and three steals. After picking up two quick fouls, Ty Baker responded with a big second half to finish with 11 points and Chubs Guden led Medford’s bench with 11 points. Joey Sullivan had 10 points in his first varsity start.

The game’s first half turned with the 19-0 run that turned an early 8-2 deficit, keyed by two 3-pointers from Everest’s Logan Bentz, into a 21-8 lead. The Raiders never trailed again.

Hupf sparked the run with a steal and a three-point play that drew the second quick foul on Everest forward Jesse Rombalski. Hupf posted up inside for another bucket and Baumgartner hit his first 3-pointer of the season to put Medford ahead 10-8.

Guden scored twice in transition, sandwiching two Baumgartner free throws. Baumgartner drilled another triple off a Sullivan assist and Hupf scored off a Baker assist to establish Medford’s 13-point lead with just under 10 minutes left in the opening half.

“I thought Brady just kind of settled us down at the start of the game,” Brown said. “He got a basket off the steal, then I think he got a post-up.

“We know what Brady’s capable of,” he added. “He’s really gotten to a good place both defensively and offensively. He can score as a shooter, but he can also get in the post and he makes good decisions out of there, whether it’s his passing if the double team comes or if it’s going one on one. I thought he did a good job there.”

Medford’s lead in the first half got as high as 15 at 31-16 when Aiden Gardner buried a wide-open 3-pointer from the left wing and 34-19 when Sullivan pulled up and sank a 3 from the top of the key. The Evergreens whittled it down to 36-27 on a Logan Ebersold triple, but two free throws by Nate Retterath with 31.9 seconds to go and a putback by Guden off a Sullivan miss with three seconds left upped the lead to 40-27.

D.C. Everest opened the second half with its best stretch of the game, chopping Medford’s lead to 42-37 on a Bentz 3-pointer. Baker started Medford’s clinching 16-3 run with two free throws with 13:06 left in the game. Gardner scored twice in a row, once off a Baker steal and then off a Baker assist. Baumgartner fed Hupf for a hoop, Hupf hit one of two free throws with 8:10 left and Retterath got a big putback off an Owen Wipf miss. Baker converted a three-point play off a baseline drive to make it 56-40 with 6:09 left and Baumgartner’s steal led to a Sullivan layin that capped the run and gave Medford a commanding 58-40 lead with less than six minutes to play.

The lead got as high as 23 at 71-48 before Everest made a late run, feasting off turnovers the Evergreens forced against Medford’s reserves.

Turnovers plagued both teams at times. Medford forced 28 miscues by Everest, but also finished with 24 turnovers of its own. The Raiders wound up shooting a respectable 50% overall from the field (28 of 56), but their five of 23 from long range just made it feel like they were a bit off. They offset that with 46 points in the paint and 23-of-33 shooting from twopoint range.

“Honestly I don’t think we ran our offense that good,” Brown said. “When we broke their press were able to get some easy ones. I think we let them off the hook a little bit by not screening bod- ies good enough. That’s something we’ll work on and I think we’ll get even more open. When we did, we had good shots. We got a lot of good looks for Baumy and for Ty and those guys. We just have to knock them down. Joey too. Joey is usually lights out. He hit a couple and he had three or four other ones that went in and out.”

Gardner finished with seven points, Retterath and Wipf scored four apiece and Tanner Hraby had a late bucket. Hupf had six rebounds, Retterath had five and Baker added four. Medford outrebounded the Evergreens 38-29, which was another positive sign. Sullivan had six assists and three steals.

“Joey is taking his game to another level,” Brown said. “He just makes big plays. He sees the floor well.”

Brown, who said Monday he’s anxious to see who steps up this year as Medford’s top players off the bench, had a lot to like in that aspect.

“A lot of guys did little things that helped us win,” Brown said. “This will be a big boost for someone like Aiden. The step that Chubs made, Joey has made and Owen have made are big. Owen on defense was just everywhere. All three of them can be in there because they’re doing those little things.” Beau Svoke led Everest with 16 points, Bentz had 14 and Ebersold had 11.

Medford opens defense of its 2019-20 Great Northern Conference title Friday by hosting Antigo at 7:15 p.m. The Raiders are scheduled to go to Tomahawk Dec. 11. Tuesday’s game with Chippewa Falls has been rescheduled for Jan. 11.