Outside shooting quells slow start, Rice Lake fallsThis was a Big Rivers Conference game, Coach Jason Swavely pointed out, and Hudson hasn’t had luck in the Rice Lake gym in recent years, but this time his charges overcame a bad beginning to upend the Warriors 73-47.
By: Bob Burrows, Hudson Star-Observer
This was a Big Rivers Conference game, Coach Jason Swavely pointed out, and Hudson hasn’t had luck in the Rice Lake gym in recent years, but this time his charges overcame a bad beginning to upend the Warriors 73-47.
“We were just hoping to get off to a good start, but that didn’t happen,” Swavely said.
Rice Lake immediately opened up a several-point lead by using full court pressure and forcing five turnovers in the first seven possessions by Hudson.
But halfway through the period, Hudson started canning perimeter shots. “Jordan Vitek hit a couple for us early,” Swavely said. “Then we settled into our half-court defense and it got the best of them,” Swavely said.
A guard, Alex Culy, who is Rice Lake’s one big offensive threat was hounded by, interchangeably, Nate Roeder and Ben Gresmer. Culy did manage 18 points.
“We were able to minimize his touches and limit his ability to take the ball to the basket,” Swavely said. “We got in the gaps and didn’t give him any driving lanes. That produced turnovers as he was trying to get the ball out to others. We then established our defensive rebounding.”
The Raiders were led by Roeder with 23 points, Gresmer with 17, Vitek with 12 and Seth Stanchik, their big presence at center, with 13. Both Gremser and Vitek hit four three-pointers.
Hudson led 35-23 at half and continued to build a lead in the late-going, but Roeder got his fourth foul halfway through the third quarter when the Raiders were up by 13 points. The response was a variety of Hudson players stepping up and filling whatever role they are asked to do.
“Good teams play unselfishly on both ends and these guys are starting to buy into that,” Swavely said. “If they continue that way, we could have a special season.”
Earlier in the week, Hudson nipped Centennial, Minn., 54-53 in the final seconds. It was led offensively by the same foursome, with the addition of Mark Van Den Broeke with seven. Roeder hit a trio of three-pointers.
“Of all the teams we’ve played, they probably had the most depth,” Swavely said.
Centennial has two big men inside, one 6-foot-7 and the other 6-5, but Hudson took away their post presence and denied their attempts to pass out of the post.
The Minnesota team also has a good point guard and perimeter shooters, Swavely said. “They are a very well rounded unit. Both teams just battled hard on both ends of the floor. We knew it would come right down to the end.”
In the last minute, after each team hit a three-pointer, Hudson inbounded the ball with a full length of court to traverse and just seven seconds to do it. Roeder ended up getting fouled and hitting two free throws for a one-point lead; Hudson played good defense for the last few seconds and sealed the win.
For the year, Hudson is shooting about 75 percent from line. Swavely said it was another example of someone making a big play with the game on the line.
Hudson has had only one or two go-to guys in the past few years, but this season they have many more options, and opponents can’t focus defensively on just one.
Hudson will be home vs. Park-Cottage Grove at 7 p.m. on Dec. 30, and travel to Edina for a 3:30 p.m. contest on Jan. 3.