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Streak-shooting Miller propels Hudson to victory in BRC opener

Matt Miller made Eau Claire North boys basketball coach Patrick Hammond pay for his decision to employ a zone defense in Hudson's conference opener Friday night.

The Raiders' 5-foot-10 junior point guard drained six straight three-pointers to begin the game (five in the first quarter), as Hudson rolled to an easy 61-39 win on its home court.

"Matt just found openings and gaps in the zone. The guys got him the ball, and he was just automatic," said Hudson coach Tim Scharfenberg. "He sure got us off to a nice start, and we were able to pretty much maintain a cushion throughout."

Miller scored 18 points of his game-high 23 points in the first quarter, which ended with the Raiders leading 20-6.

When the Huskies tightened their defense on Miller in the second quarter, senior center Waylon Meyer and junior swingman Nate Zuehl found scoring opportunities, and Hudson had a commanding 34-16 lead at halftime.

The Raiders extended the lead in the third quarter and didn't give any ground in the fourth.

"I thought we came out rather lackluster and just weren't real sharp in that third quarter. But fortunately our defense held strong and we continued to make them take tough, contested shots," said Scharfenberg. "And we rebounded the ball well, so we never really allowed them to make a run."

Meyer was Hudson's second-leading scorer with 21 points and Zuehl contributed 11.

Scharfenberg said Meyer had a great game all around.

"A lot of our offense on the interior is going to go through Waylon," he said. "He just really is a strong inside kid - a very aggressive, physical player."

Scharfenberg said what the Raiders need now is for players besides Miller and Meyer to help with the scoring.

"Obviously, Matt and Waylon are our proven scorers. Our opponents' game plan is definitely going to be to limit those two as much as possible, so we're going to need good contributions (from others)," he said.

The Raiders are aiming to prove the Big Rivers coaches right in picking them as leading contenders for the 2003-04 conference title.

"We certainly will strive to bring a conference crown back to Hudson," Scharfenberg said. "I think we have a team that's capable of it."

"But that's a prediction," he added about being the pre-season favorite. "It's one of those things that doesn't mean a whole lot. You've just got to go and earn it."

A victory Friday night at Rice Lake would help them on their way. The Warriors opened conference play last week with a victory over Eau Claire Memorial, last season's conference champion and a perennial Big Rivers powerhouse.

Randy Hanson

Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.

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