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Hudson senior Eric Schmechel moves to the basket to score two of his game-high 22 points in the Raiders' 61-39 victory over Chippewa Falls Friday night at the high school. Bob Burrows photo

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The Raider boys' basketball team opened the second half with a 7-0 run to take a double-digit lead over Chippewa Falls and never let up on its way to a 61-39 victory over the Cardinals Friday night at the high school gym.

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The win came three nights after the Raiders dropped a 42-34 decision at Eau Claire North.

Hudson, now 3-3 in the Big Rivers Conference, 4-7 overall, will host a pair of Minnesota teams in nonconference games this weekend. They face Edina Friday, Jan. 22 at 7:30 p.m. and North St. Paul Saturday, Jan. 23 at 7:30 p.m. at the high school gym. They return to BRC action Tuesday, Jan. 26, at first-place Eau Claire Memorial.

Against Chippewa Falls last Friday, the Raiders led by seven, 24-17, at halftime before scoring the first seven points of the second half. Jordan Vitek got things going with a three-pointer then found Eric Schmechel for a bucket in the paint.

After a Cardinal miss at the other end, Schmechel dished off to Matt Krier for a layup, giving the Raiders a 31-17 lead and forcing Chippewa Falls to burn a timeout less than two minutes into the half.

Chippewa got as close as eight, 31-23, midway through the third quarter but Davy Branson drilled a three-pointer to make it an 11-point game, 36-25, just over a minute later. The Raiders led by double-digits the rest of the way, opening up their biggest lead of the game, 61-38, on a pair of free throws by Ethan Stanchik with 3:11 remaining.

Raider head coach Jason Swavely said he liked the way the Raiders kept up the pressure in the second half.

"We hit a few shots in a row to start the half and from there I really liked how we kept it up," he said.

The Cardinals' game plan was to double-team Vitek and it worked to a point. The senior sharp-shooter finished with five points in the win but did a tremendous job of distributing the ball to his teammates.

"As the double teams came to Jordan he did a nice job of getting guys the ball, and the guys did a good job of putting themselves in a position to get the ball," Swavely said.

Schmechel benefitted by leading all scorers with 22 points while Krier finished with 15. Branson added eight points in the win while Max Hawksford contributed seven.

The Raider defense, meanwhile, kept the Cards' two leading scorers -- Tyson Kalien and Jared Jaquish -- in check most of the night. Kalien finished with 18 points but Jaquish, who had been averaging nearly 12 points a game, scored just four.

"I thought the biggest difference was our play off the bench," Swavely said. "Ethan Stanchik did a nice job defensively and Luke Miller, who hasn't seen a lot of varsity action, stuck with his guy when he was out there."

Chippewa Falls fell to 3-2 in the BRC, 6-5 overall.

The Raider defense also played well last Tuesday at Eau Claire North, holding 6-foot, 11-inch Badger recruit Evan Anderson without a field goal. But the Raiders hit just 9-of-41 shots from the field while North had enough players step up to pull out a 42-34 victory.

The Huskies improved to 3-1 in the BRC, 8-3 overall.

Swavely said even though Anderson was limited to seven points -- all from the free throw line -- he impacted the game in other ways.

"Everybody evaluates Evan Anderson around his scoring and we said, let's not let him beat us," Swavely said. "But he's intimidating and we struggled inside against him."

Vitek scored 10 points in the loss while Branson finished with eight and Krier scored six. Krier led both teams in rebounds with 11.

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Bob Burrows
Bob Burrows has been sports editor at the River Falls Journal since 1996 and at the Hudson Star-Observer since 2009. Prior to joining the Journal, Burrows served as sports editor with Ledger Publications in Balsam Lake, Wis. A native of Bayonne, N.J. and a U.S. Navy veteran, Burrows attended Marquette University before completing his studies at UW-River Falls in 1992.
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