Hudson girls handed two defeats in Thanksgiving Classic
The Raider girls basketball team fell victim to two Minnesota teams in their Thanksgiving Classic, losing 64-59 to Minnehaha Academy in overtime Friday night and 77-62 to Holy Angels Academy Saturday night.
The defeats didn't discourage Hudson girls basketball coach Dave Johnson, however.
"Minnesota is always ahead of us early because the coaches get to work with them all June and July," said Johnson. "They always come in in full gear while we're still working stuff out."
Ten varsity and 10 junior varsity teams from Wisconsin and Minnesota participated in the annual season warm-up played at Hudson High School.
"I really like this team," said Johnson, who returns to his longtime coaching job at Hudson High after a season guiding the women at Augsburg College.
His starters so far this season have been guards Megan Givens and Janelle Daniels, senior forwards Jessica Tewes and Amanda Nelson, and junior center Katie Layman.
Givens, a junior, and Daniels, a senior, are the team's captains. Givens was named to the All Big Rivers Conference first team at the end of her sophomore season. Daniels, a 5-foot-3 senior point guard, will take over the floor leader role played by Jess Vadnais the past couple seasons.
The front line of Layman, Nelson and Tewes stands 6-foot-1, 6-foot and 5-foot-11. Givens is a big guard at 5-foot-9.
Coming off the bench are senior Molly Fletcher, a 6-foot center; juniors Danielle Henry, a 5-foot-8 forward, and Kari Sterner, a 5-foot-3 guard; and sophomores Sharyn Dahl, a 5-foot-9 guard, Tara Schuknecht, a 5-foot-9 forward, and Meg Hawksford, a 5-foot-10 forward.
Johnson said the tough competition early in the season would prepare the Hudson girls for Big Rivers Conference play, which begins Friday night (Dec.3) at River Falls. The following Friday (Dec. 10), the Eau Claire North girls, a favorite to win the conference crown, come to Hudson.
"I was happy with our effort. We just have to take care of the ball a little bit better," Johnson said the Raiders' play last weekend.
The Raiders led Minnehaha Academy 30-28 at halftime and expanded the lead to 44-35 at the end of the third quarter. Minnehaha used scrappy full-court pressure to make up their nine-point deficit in the fourth quarter, however, and outscored the Raiders 13-8 in overtime.
Tewes lead Hudson with 25 points and 11 rebounds.
"She's starting out on fire," Johnson said of Tewes, who also recorded double doubles in the season opener at Ellsworth and Saturday night's game with Holy Angels.
Givens contributed 13 points and grabbed six rebounds.
Too many turnovers
The story line on the Holy Angels game is that the Raiders need to take better care of the ball, according to Johnson.
"We were brutal with turnovers. I don't even want to tell you how many (the Raiders had)," he said. His stat sheet said 31.
The Raiders played even with the Holy Angels girls in three of the game's four quarters, but couldn't overcome a poor second quarter in which they were outscored 25-12.
Johnson said a bright spot in the game was continued strong play off the bench by Dahl, who connect on two of three three-point attempts for six points.
"She can get out and run," Johnson said of the 5-foot-9 sophomore. "She's been playing pretty good. If she gets her confidence and plays a little stronger, I think she's really going to help us down the run."
Givens was the Raiders' high scorer with 17 points and also collected six rebounds. Tewes scored 13 points and grabbed 17 rebounds before fouling out.