After playing 7 of their first 9 games of the 2017-18 season away from home, the Cyclones once again hit the road for 2 more games at the CLC Winter Classic in Brainerd, MN. The young Cyclones team has faired well so far on the road winning 4 out of 5 in true road games, however they had lost two neutral court games earlier in the season. The trip to Brainerd would stay true to the season's trends as the Cyclones struggled in the neutral court rematch against Rainy River on Friday, but came away with the win at Central Lakes on Saturday.
In a rematch of two teams that played 14 days earlier in St. Cloud, both Rainy River and St. Cloud traveled to CLC to play again on a nuetral court. The tables were turned on the Cyclones in this match-up however. Rainy River came out firing in the first half, shooting an impressive 64% from the field. A healthy mix of transition baskets that the Cyclones struggled to slow down resulted in a 54-29 deficit.
The team was able to slow down the opponent during the final 20 minutes, eventually cutting the lead to 12 points with 5 minutes remaining, but back to back turnovers stopped the momentum and RRCC extended their lead to finish the game. The final score was 88-67 as the two teams split their regular season games against each other.
The Cylcones found themselves in a familiar place on Saturday evening versus Central Lakes College. The team had played a road game at CLC just one week prior to this, winning 85-82 in overtime. It is not an easy task to go on the road and beat a team twice in one week, but the Cyclones were up to the challenge.
In the previous match-up, SCTCC found themselves down 15 at the half after a sluggish start. This time around they didn't dig themselves a hole to get out of, leading 37-30 at the half. In one of their better 1st half defensive performances, the Cyclones held the home team under 40% FG, including a 3-13 mark from outside the arc. The team controlled the pace of the game and got to the free throw line 19 times in the first 20 minutes, sinking 14 of those.
Both teams continued to make plays during the 2nd half keeping the score close. After CLC tied the game at 43 all with over 13 minutes remaining in the game, the Cyclones regained control and built a lead up to as many as 12 points. The team struggled to hit their free throws down the stretch (13/22 in the 2nd half), which kept the game within reach. In the end though, the Cyclones came away with a 78-73 victory.
All 9 Cyclones the played in the game scored, led by McDonald and Boker with 16 points a piece. Williams followed up with 14 points of his own.
The victory put the Cyclones record at 7-4 heading into the first semester break. The team will return to action on Jan 5th/6th in Fergus Falls.