Basketball: Hudson girls give BRC leaders a battle
The Raider girls' basketball team gave Big Rivers Conference-leading Eau Claire North all it could handle last Thursday night, Jan. 17, before the Huskies escaped with a 60-49 victory.
Saturday, Jan. 19, Hudson went down to the wire at Goodhue, Minn., before falling in overtime, 70-65.
The Raiders, now 4-9 overall, 2-4 in BRC play, visit La Crosse Central (7-6) this Friday, Jan. 25, at 7:30 p.m. and La Crosse Logan (8-5) Saturday, Jan. 26, at 2:45 p.m. before returning to BRC play Tuesday, Jan. 29, at Menomonie (3-12, 0-6).
Last Thursday the Raiders trailed the Huskies by just two, 14-12, at the end of the first quarter and by four, 39-35, at the end of three before North hit their free throws late in the game to hold on for the win. The Huskies finished the night 11-of-18 from the free throw line while Hudson was just 3-of-4.
"We came out and threw everything but the kitchen sink at them tonight," coach Joe Behnke said. "Our girls did a nice job of mixing up our defenses and keeping them off balance, and we had them a little rattled and confused at times. But there is a reason they are undefeated through the first round of conference play."
Kindra Witthus led a balanced Raider attack with 12 points and Jordan Huber added 11 while Katy Fox finished with nine and Sarah Krier had eight, including two of Hudson's four three-pointers. Kaylyn Jenkins added six points while Ellie Whitacre scored three.
"I thought our girls played with tremendous heart and grit," Behnke said. "There was no backing down or giving in tonight. They had to earn every basket and in the end we just came up short, plain and simple. They made those few plays that we didn't and that is the difference in a close game. Absolutely nothing to hang our heads about."
Saturday at Goodhue, the Raiders had a six-point lead with 2:37 remaining in the game before Goodhue came back to tie the score, 61-61, on an inbounds play under the basket with 3.2 seconds remaining in regulation. Goodhue then outscored the Raiders, 9-4 in the overtime to steal the victory.
"The only disappointing thing about losing this pretty evenly contested game was our inability to finish," Behnke said, noting the score was tied 26-26 at halftime. "We played well in transition and our effort and energy was great tonight, we just couldn't seal the deal."
Three Raiders finished in double figures in scoring, led by Krier with 19. Anna Paquette added 12 points and Maggie Koehler scored 11 while Huber finished with nine points, Witthus scored eight and Jenkins finished with six.
Behnke said the Raiders continue to improve each week.
"Strides continue to be made and a good foundation is being set for our program," he said.