The Raider boys are 1-1 with a win over Omak and a better start than the Raiders had in their first two games last season.
"Our confidence in ourselves playing together is very high, and our team chemistry is gelling faster than expected," Head Coach Matt Simpson said.
In their jamboree Dec. 3, the Raiders played the Eagles of Soap Lake and the Almira/Coulee-Hartline Warriors.
Against Soap Lake, the Raiders played hard using a nine-man rotation to keep up the effort and to experiment with different player combinations on the floor. The Eagles came back to tie the game, and on the second-to-last in-bound pass, stole the ball for the game-winning layin.
The Raiders rebounded from the loss to beat the Warriors and close out the Jamboree.
The next night, the Raiders hosted the Omak Pioneers, who were coached by Kyle Desautel in his first season replacing Lance O'Dell. Last season, the Raiders lost to the Pioneers in Omak by the score of 65-42.
The Raiders came out aggressively on both sides of the court right from the get go. Coach Simpson continued to use a nine-man rotation which was very effective. At the end of the first quarter, the Raiders were up 13-5.
In the second quarter, the Raiders pushed the lead further, but mistakes allowed the Pioneers back into the game. LR held off the rally but at halftime their lead was cut to single digits at 25-18.
At the start of the second half, the Raiders shifted to a full-court press. This frazzled the Pioneers and the Raiders were able to pick up steals and score easy points. LR regained some of the confidence they had in the first quarter and pushed the lead back out to double digits, 45-27.
Omak looked like they would rally in the fourth, and LR went on a dry spell for almost three minutes. By the midway point of the quarter, both squads were unable to buy a basket and the play became heated as Omak's frustration came out. Raiders kept their cool and held on to the sizable lead.
As the game wound down, more of the Raider bench was subbed in, with 11 of 14 Raiders suited up playing. With the game already in the win column, Willie Davis hit a three pointer as time expired to push the Raider lead to 20, with a final score of 57-37.
Coach Simpson said it was a "great rivalry game, and it's great to get a win in front of our home crowd."
Chance Garvin led the Raiders with 22 points against Omak. Austin Rosenbaum scored 11 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. Taren Redstar also had 11 points. Jacob Palmer scored six points. Willie Davis scored five points coming off the bench in the fourth. As a team, the Raiders on defense picked up 36 turnovers, compared to allowing just 14.
The next night, the Raiders faced off against the mighty Okanogan Bulldogs. The Raiders were hit with an administrative technical as the starting lineup was not noted in the scorebook. Then the clock malfunctioned, causing the officials to restart the game.
Okanogan was not fazed and started the game with a 6-0 run. A Josiah Desautel steal for a basket was the first score of the game for LR.
It became physical quickly, with Okanogan having an upper hand. At the end of the first quarter, Okanogan was up 13-4 on the Raiders.
In the second quarter, the Raiders played hard, but mistakes and fouls became costly. Okanogan went on a hot streak and stifled the Raider offense. Under the basket, LR could not penetrate the barrier created by Jim Townsend and Justin VanderWeide. Justin Rivas picked off the Raiders for a fast break layin numerous times in the second quarter. At half, the Bulldogs led, 38-6, over the Raiders.
After halftime adjustments to the Raider game plan, scoring went tit for tat, but the Bulldogs maintained the lead 57-20 at the end of the third quarter.
Okanogan subbed in five bench players at the start of the fourth. LR continued to play hard as the play became rough and the fouls continued to be called. Theron Nault suffered an ankle injury late in the quarter because of the rough play.
In their best quarter of the game, LR outscored the Bulldogs 18-14. Okanogan came away with a big win, 71-38, an improvement for LR over last season when Okanogan beat the Raiders 85-28.
"After re-grouping in the locker room, our guys played with that same passion we've always played with up to that point from previous games," Simpson said. "I was happy to see our guys bounce back and re-focus."
Chance Garvin led the team with 12 points. Trey Nicholson scored six. Freshman Josiah Desautel put up four points.
LR travelled to Tonasket last night to take on a tough Tiger squad. Tonasket is 2-0 with wins over Liberty Bell and Kettle Falls.
The Raiders will take on the Entiat Tigers on Monday in Entiat starting at 7:30 p.m. Entiat was the Raiders' first win last season 54-52 at home. The Tigers are 0-1 right now with a loss to Riverside Christian, 63-33.