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NM 66, Mt. Ayr 60
Last Thursday, the Raider basketball team took the court for what would be the last time this season after falling to the North Mahaska Warhawks in a 66-60 contest that went down to the wire.
North Mahaska took the lead early in the game, but only by a few points, and Mount Ayr stayed within six points at their largest deficit.
Jaixen Frost scored 23, while Ryce Reynolds added 11, but the Raiders couldn’t quite overcome the 27 points of North Mahaska’s Nash Smith.
North Mahaska was good on seven three pointers, while the Raiders sank five, and 13 shots from the freethrow line helped out the Warhawks, while the Raiders took nine shots from the line.
The Raiders led the game in steals with 14, led by Braydon Pierson with four and committed 13 turnovers, while the Warhawks gave up 18.
“We told them coming in that pressure would be on them [North Mahaska],” said coach Bret Ruggles. “With the pressure being on them, go get anything you can and I never questioned their effort all night long.”
Coach Ruggles noted the height advantage of the Warhawks with six of their players at or above six feet tall, including their leading scorer at six feet six inches.
“Their length finally got to us in the fourth quarter,” said coach Ruggles. “It was fitting that the last play was an offensive rebound from a free throw, but man our kids played hard and made some tough shots. We kept battling all the way.”
The Raiders graduate two seniors in Raines Sackett and Cody Larson.
Larson talked about his time with the program and what his favorite memory of being a Raider basketball player.
“I’ve been in this program a really long time and it really sucks that the season just ended so quickly,” said Larson. “Winning districts last year was a really big win and really opened my eyes on what this program is really about.”
Sackett also had a few words about his time in the program.
“It means everything, I love this team and I love every single one of these guys,” said Sackett. “Nobody thought we were going to get this far, so getting here was pretty cool.”
Coach Ruggles reflected on his seniors.
“Cody is going to be an absolute workhorse in anything he does in life,” said Ruggles. “He gets up early and works his tail off. Raines is going to be a fantastic father and fantastic husband. He contributes to our team in so many ways. It may not be on the floor but that kid is going to be outstanding. I can’t wait to see them both grow up.”
1 2 3 4 F
MA 12 12 20 16 60
NM 14 16 18 18 66
Pts FG 3 FT
Stark 9 3-9 3-7 0-0
Reynolds 11 4-13 0-4 3-3
Frost 23 10-18 1-3 2-2
Pierson 6 2-11 0-4 2-2
C.Larson 8 4-7 0-0 0-2
Martin 3 1-4 1-2 0-0
R Ast S B
Stark 1 2 2 0
Reynolds 7 1 3 0
Frost 7 1 3 0
Pierson 7 1 4 0
C.Larson 5 1 2 1
Martin 1 2 0 0