Basketball: Boys take Rice Lake to OTThe Raider boys’ basketball team showed Big Rivers Conference favorite Rice Lake it wasn’t just going to walk away with the BRC title this season in a conference matchup at the high school last Tuesday, Jan. 10.
By: Bob Burrows, Hudson Star-Observer
The Raider boys’ basketball team showed Big Rivers Conference favorite Rice Lake it wasn’t just going to walk away with the BRC title this season in a conference matchup at the high school last Tuesday, Jan. 10.
The Raiders played aggressive, physical basketball and had the Warriors on their heels most of the game, but Rice Lake’s three Ellenson brothers combined for 11 of the 14 Warrior points in the final four minutes of the game to erase an eight-point Raider lead and force overtime.
University of Minnesota recruit Wally Ellenson scored six of his game-high 29 points in the extra session to allow Rice Lake to escape with a 63-55 win.
Rice Lake, the No. 5 ranked team in Division 2, remained unbeaten in BRC play while improving to 10-1 overall. Hudson went on to rout Eau Claire North, 72-42, three nights later in Eau Claire to move its record to 3-2 in BRC play, 8-3 overall.
Raider coach Jason Swavely said strong team defense allowed his team to keep Rice Lake on the ropes last Tuesday.
“I’m real proud of the way our guys stepped up to the physical challenge,” he said. “If it hadn’t gone to overtime, we would have held Rice Lake to around 50 points, and I’m real happy with that.”
The Warriors entered the game averaging over 70 points, but the Raiders held them to 37 through three quarters and took a 38-37 lead on a baseline drive by Max Hawksford to start the fourth quarter.
An off-balance drive by Ethan Stanchik and two free throws by Alex Herink extended Hudson’s lead to five, 44-39, less than two minutes in, and a dunk by Herink and a Stanchik free throw made it an eight-point game, 47-39, with 3:54 remaining.
Rice Lake’s trio of 6-foot, 5-inch senior Wally Ellenson, 6-7 junior Elwood Ellenson and 6-8 freshman Henry Ellenson combined to score 11 straight points and the Warriors tied the score, 53-53, on a three-pointer by Drew Burgei with 20 seconds remaining.
A Raider turnover gave Rice Lake a chance to win in regulation but Wally Ellenson’s three-point attempt at the buzzer was short.
Wally Ellenson scored the first six points of the overtime to put the Warriors ahead, 59-53. A baseline jumper by Kellen Pearson with a minute remaining pulled Hudson to within four but that’s as close as the Raiders could get.
“I felt like at the end, our team hasn’t been in that position before,” Swavely said about taking a state-ranked team to overtime. “We missed a couple of front-ends and they hit a couple of real tough threes.”
Herink led the Raiders with 15 points while Hawksford and Pearson finished with eight apiece. Stanchik, Luke Miller, Jordan Delao and Stef Smith all had five points in the loss while Miles Lewis finished with four.
Swavely said having Miller back from an injury suffered in the final football game has been huge.
“He brings so many different dimensions to both ends of the floor,” the coach said.
Friday night at Eau Claire North the Raiders kept up the defensive pressure and forced six turnovers before the Huskies attempted a basket on their way to a 72-42 victory.
“We felt like we needed to get off to a really quick start and our defensive pressure helped us do that,” Swavely said.
Hudson jumped out to a 7-0 lead and led 21-10 at the end of one before extending it to 39-22 at halftime.
Hawksford led a balanced Raider attack with 17 points while Herink scored 15 and Delao added 12. Lewis finished with eight points in the win and Miller scored seven while Smith added five, and Pearson and Stanchik chipped in with four each.
Swavely said he was able to get a lot of different players in the game, including Joe Kelly, who saw his first action of the season after recovering from a football injury.
The Raiders will host Chippewa Falls (3-2, 5-5) Friday night, Jan. 20 at 7:30 p.m. and play a nonconference game at home against Edina, Minn., Tuesday, Jan. 24, before visiting Eau Claire Memorial (0-5, 2-12) next Friday, Jan. 27.