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Raiders snap 2-decade streak

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Snowden unstoppable as Lomega topples Okarche 58-36

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    Lomega Raiders vs. Okarche Warriors

Some names have changed but some were certainly the same Tuesday night when history was made inside Lomega High School’s gym.

The Raiders defeated Okarche 58-36 in an impressive showing against their rival to improve to 2-0 on the season.

However, this wasn’t just an ordinary win as this rivalry has been one-sided for nearly 21 full years.

Not since Jan. 8, 1999, had Lomega defeated Okarche in high school boys basketball.

“I think everyone on our team pretty well knew about the streak,” said Lomega coach Justin Edsall, himself a former Raider who never beat Okarche.

“It’s been a long time. There have been some close games when both teams were really good, but there have been some whippings, too.”

One person who’s seen both sides of the rivalry is Aaron West.

The current Okarche coach scored 20 points when his team was defeated by the Raiders, 70-61, early in 1999.

He was also the Lomega boys coach from 2005-12. He was on the wrong side of some of those “whippings,” but also some of the close calls against the Warriors, who were coached by his dad, the late Ray West.

This contest trended toward the lopsided sort as Okarche had no answer early on for Lomega’s Noah Snowden.

The junior was unstoppable as he scored 11 of Lomega’s 16 fi rst-quarter points to help his team post a seven-point lead.

The barrage kicked in early in the second quarter.

Snowden scored nine straight points as Lomega’s lead ballooned to 27-10 less than midway through the frame. His streak prompted two Okarche timeouts in a span of 53 seconds.

The Raiders led 32-14 at halftime. Snowden had 22 at that point and fi nished with a game-high 24.

Hisfather,JeffSnowden, was a part of the 1997-98 Lomega squad that swept Okarche.

The Raiders won 47-43 in their November 1997 meeting as the elder Snowden scored 12 points and iced the game with two late free throws.

Lomega won an 83-72 shootout in January 1998 as Kevin Lewallen, now the Lady Raiders’ coach, scored 35 points on 17 of 24 shooting.

Okarche grabbed the first meeting of the 1998-99 season by mounting a late rally to win 50-49 at home.

The Raiders made it three wins in four tries on their home court two months later.

In that game, Scott Men-dell led the way with 24 while Curtis Fisher scored

20.

Fisher’s nephew, Dilon Fisher, stepped up big for Lomega in its most current win.

The senior scored in every quarter and ended his night with 15 points.

Blake Snowden added 10 points for Lomega, which led 45-19 after three quarters.

Okarche had scored 65 points in its season-opening win over Preston.

“I think this group is the best defensive group we’ve had here in a while,” Edsall said. “When we commit to it, we can be pretty good and we defended and rebounded as well as we have against Okarche in a long time.

“We can be better offensively as we go through some scoring droughts, but our defense should always be there.”

Kaleb Harris led Okarche (1-1) with 18 points. He scored 11 in the fourth quarter, including three 3-pointers.

Okarche made fi ve of its seven treys in the fi nal quarter.

Logan Kroener chipped in 10 points for the Warriors.