The Raiders led by six after the first quarter and had a three point lead both at halftime and going into the fourth quarter but whenever Cal-Mum seemed to pull away, the Rebels were always able to come back with a big three-pointer or knock down two free throws to keep it close.
“This Cuba-Rushford team can flat-out score,” Dickens said. ” We knew we had our work cut out for us. You can’t really stop Carl Holmes, just try to contain him a little bit. We’re just lucky we don’t have to see a guard like that again.”
Holmes, the Rebels 5’10” senior guard, finished with 36 points, including 15-18 from the free throw line. For the Raiders, senior guard Kurtis Haut had 19 points and 8 rebounds. Senior forward Chris Wilson added 12 points and 8 rebounds.
But it was Raiders junior forward Will VanAuken who ended up being the difference in this game. His totals of 31 points, 19 rebounds and three blocks are impressive, but it was how he almost singlehandedly controlled the game’s crucial fourth quarter that ultimately sealed the win. VanAuken had 10 points, including 6-8 from the free throw line, in the final quarter. He also brought down almost every one of the Raiders defensive rebounds in those last eight minutes.
VanAuken, currently in his third year playing on the varsity squad for Dickens, lost in the sectional semifinals as a freshman.
“It’s nice having veteran leadership,” Dickens said of VanAuken. “It’s great having good guards but when you have a solid big man who can grab rebounds, send shots out, and score it’s a huge advantage. Will has just been dominant this year and I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do on Saturday.”
Cal-Mum (19-1) will take on Clyde-Savannah (20-0) in the Section V Class C2 finals March 1st at 1pm at Blue Cross Arena.