The No. 3-seeded Central Minnesota Christian Bluejays finished the first half on an 18-2 run and eliminated the Lake Park-Audubon Raiders 68-49 in the Class A consolation semifinals Friday afternoon at Concordia University in St. Paul.
The Raiders led only once on the first LP-A bucket of the game, a three-pointer by Grant Pederson for a 3-2 lead.
Pederson’s second three of the half got the Raiders within a point trailing 10-9 and his third long ball tied the game at 15-all with 5:45 to play until halftime.
LP-A suffered a six minute scoring drought until Jesse Bergh made one of two free throws at the seven-minute mark. The Bluejays managed only one three-pointer by Matthew Van Eps in that time keeping the game close.
CMC blew the game open in the final six minutes scoring 18 points countered by only one Raider bucket, a deuce by Mitch Hall at 2:55.
Bergh got the Raider crowd into the game with a dunk early in the half, followed by a block of Ethan Brouwer on the ensuing Bluejay possession, but CMC played inspired ball down the stretch while the Raiders struggled on the offensive end.
CMC shot 50 percent from the arc making seven threes in the first half and led 33-17.
Mitch Hall caught fire for LP-A in the second half going on a personal 11-2 run to pull the Raiders within 10 points trailing 52-42 at the eight-minute mark.
Hall was held to one basket in the opening 18 minutes, but scored 21 of his 23 points in the second half.
The Raiders could not get the deficit to single digits thanks to Austin Marcus responding with seven consecutive points to extend the lead to a spread of 15 late.
Hall led all scorers with his 23 points and shot 4-9 from the arc. The Raiders got scoring from their three leaders. Bergh and Pederson tallied 14 and 12, respectively. No other Raider shooters scored in the game.
Marcus scored 22 to lead the Bluejays (27-4).
LP-A ends the season with a mark of 22-8. A homecoming is planned for the team Sunday, March 26 at 2 p.m. at the high school in Lake Park.
LPA 17 32 — 49
CMC 33 35 — 68
LPA - Hall 23, Bergh 14, Pederson 12.
CMC - Marcus 22, Brouwer 14, Stoel 11, Van Eps 11, Schwitters 6, Henry 4.