Raider boys basketball team loses to Rice Lake and Edina
Raider boys' basketball coach Jason Swavely has described his team's development at the start of the season as "a process."
Last week that process moved a step forward, despite dropping a pair of games to Big Rivers Conference leader Rice Lake and Edina, Minn.
"I feel like we're starting to settle into some roles,: Swavely said. "The Rice Lake game, I feel, was our best game of the season."
Hudson trailed by as little as five in the fourth quarter before the undefeated Warriors managed to pull away for a 73-56 victory.
The Raiders were within reach of Rice Lake most of the game until 6-foot, 6-inch junior Alex Herink picked up his fourth foul early in the fourth quarter and spent nearly half the quarter on the bench.
"It was a seven or eight point game when he came back in but we just couldn't catch up." Swavely said. "A 17-point loss isn't indicative of how that game went."
The Raiders have received a big boost from freshman Mathew Sparstad in the last few games. Sparstad led the Raiders with 12 points against Rice Lake and his 12 points in Thursday night's 72-53 loss at Edina was second only to Herink's 15.
"He's been able to fill in the void that Ethan Stanchik left a little bit," Swavely said, referring to the Raider's three-year starting guard who is out this season with a broken wrist. "Dan Kelly has taken over the point guard role and moved out of the No. 2 spot and that's made room for Mathew Sparstad to slide in. He's a nice little spark as a freshman. He's got a good perimeter shot and he adds another dimension. I'm glad to have him in the mix."
Despite the Raiders' 1-6 start to the season, Swavely said the players continue to work hard.
"The guys have a good perspective right now," he said. "Alex Herink continues to plug away. We just need a few more scorers to step up."
Swavely said the Raiders are getting good production from senior guard Alex Newell, who scored 11 points against Rice Lake, and that senior Stef Smith, who had 10 points in the Rice Lake game, remains consistent. He said the team also expects senior Joe Kelly to make his season debut after Christmas after suffering an injury during the football season.
"We're looking forward to having another senior leader out there," the coach said.
The Raiders will play in a holiday tournament in Wausau this week, facing Rhinelander Thursday, Dec. 27, at 12:45 p.m. and Wausau East Friday at 4:15, both at Wausau West High School.
The Raiders return to BRC action Friday, Jan. 4, at Eau Claire Memorial. Their next home game is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 8, at 7:30 p.m. against Chippewa Falls.