HIBBING — Not even a travel snafu could stop the Anoka-Ramsey Community College men’s basketball team.
The Golden Rams arrived 45 minutes late for a 6:30 p.m. start, but they started on a 15-4 run en route to a 106-88 victory over Hibbing Community College in MCAC action Friday at Dick Varichak Gymnasium.
There were a couple of reasons for Anoka-Ramsey’s tardiness.
“Our bus was late,” Anoka-Ramsey Ron Larson said. “We called them, and he was in Cambridge. That’s 45 minutes from us. He had to drive back 45 minutes, then the roads were bad. It was rush hour on 35, and there were two accidents.
“Everybody was driving slow. I felt bad about it, but there’s nothing you can do about it. I’m glad we got the game in.”
The only thing Larson didn’t know was how his team was going to respond without much time to get the bus legs stretched out, but taking that 12-point lead right off the bat answered those questions.
“How do you know how they’re going to respond?” Larson said. “I thought we came out initially good, but our guys that came off the bench had been sitting for six hours, two hours at our school and four more on the bus.
“I didn’t think our bench played well because they didn’t get a chance to get loose. Our starters played well, both in the first half and second half. That’s how it went.”
Cardinal coach Dave Wilson told his team to be ready for an early Golden Rams’ onslaught.
“One of the things I told them about this team is that they jump on you quickly,” Wilson said. “The advantage that we had is they were just getting off of the bus. I guess they didn’t adhere to that right away, then they got themselves back into it.”
Anoka-Ramsey had leads of 26-13 and 35-19 in the first half, but Hibbing caught a little bit of a spark and cut the deficit to seven at the half, 56-49.
“The one thing about this team is they’re not willing to give up,” Wilson said. “They fight, fight, fight. What we have to do though is play hard for 30 minutes, not for spurts of eight, five or four. We have to do it for 30 minutes.
“If we do that, we win games.”
Even though his team was in the lead, Larson wasn’t sure how to defend the Cardinals.
“We have some big kids that are good, but we debated whether or not we could guard them,” Larson said. “We tried a little bit of a zone, but they shot us out of that.
“It would have helped had we played a couple of our bigs, at least one, but we didn’t. We were on a roll there, and you would hate to upset the whole thing.”
The Cardinals kept that roll going, getting the first five points of the second half to make it 56-54, which prompted Larson to call a timeout.
“I said, ‘Hey, quit turning the ball over and get better shots,’” Larson said. “We did say, ‘Don’t rely on the three now, we have to get something going to the basket.’ When we started taking it to the basket more…
“We got happy shooting threes in the first half, just like they did. That being said, I thought when we started taking it to the basket, we were in better shape.”
Larson’s words hit home with his team as they went on a 12-2 run to take a 68-56 lead with 16:50 to play.
“The one thing that happened is that we couldn’t get back on defense fast enough,” Wilson said. “They started running us there, and they pushed it right back to 10. The more points they scored, in the guys’ eyes, it was slipping away.
“The other thing, too, is we were only getting one shot from long range, and they were running back and getting two points on layups. That’s one of the things we have to work on.”
The Golden Rams also got 17-second-chance points, which limited the Cardinals’ ability to get back into the game.
“They got too many second-chance points,” Wilson said. “We didn’t do a good enough job getting back on defense. One of the things I can say, for the most part, we didn’t get up.
“We can’t keep digging holes. We got it down to two, then we let them go back up by more than 10. I told them that they had to get their basketball legs going from the beginning.”
Hibbing was led by Moe Washington with 27 points. Stephon Smith had 16, Kionté Cole 12 and Schuyler Pimentel 10.
Anoka-Ramsey was led by Jacob Say with 26 points. Josiah Remus-Ford had 23, Ontario Chapman 17, Devin Wade-Henderson 14 and Terrell Fountain 13.
AR 56 50 — 106
HCC 49 39 — 88
Anoka-Ramsey: Josiah Remus-Ford 23, Jacob Say 26, Elijah Mead 4, Devin Wade-Henderson 14, Ontario Chapman 17, Isaiah Woodstock 7, Terrell Fountain 13, Anthony Baker 2.
Hibbing: Rasonte Smith 8, Moe Washington 27, Alvin Judd 8, Stephon Smith 16, Schuyler Pimentel 10, Kionté Cole 12, Steven Buhl 4, Edwin Ndika 3.
Total Fouls: Anoka-Ramsey 18; Hibbing 21; Fouled Out: Judd, Buhl; Free Throws: Anoka-Ramsey 21-28; Hibbing 16-21; 3-pointers: Remus-Ford 2, Say 5, Chapman, Woodstock, Smith, Washington, Cole 3, Ndika.