Boys open BRC play against title contenders
The Hudson boys basketball team is 1-1 in the Big Rivers Conference after the first week of action.
The Raiders were defeated by River Falls 47-31 in the conference opener on the road Tuesday night of last week. Friday night at Hudson, they turned back a fourth-quarter rally by Rice Lake to win 68-65.
Poor shooting led to the Raiders' demise at River Falls, where they started out 2 of 17 from the floor and made just 25 percent of their field goal attempts for the game.
"Obviously, when you put up just 31 points on the night, we definitely went through our struggles on the offensive end," said Raider coach Tim Scharfenberg.
Despite the cold shooting, the Raiders trailed by just six points (19-13) at halftime. The Wildcats took over the game with a 9-0 run in the third quarter, which ended with them leading 35-24.
Senior guard Jay Langdon led Hudson on offense with 13 points. Senior center Steve McCarney contributed 10 points. Three other Raiders scored, but added just eight points combined.
"It's important for us to have good balance on offense - three or four guys in double figures, and good offensive contributions from six or seven players," said Scharfenberg. "That just didn't happen against River Falls."
The Raiders corrected the situation Friday night. Four players reached double figures and a total of eight made it into the scoring column against Rice Lake.
McCarney led the way with 20 points and 17 rebounds.
"He had a big night. He's been playing very well," Scharfenberg said of his six-foot-four center. "He's been playing good D as well. He's really stepping up for us right now."
Langdon and Michael Zuehl each added 12 points and Cody Holm put in 11.
After a close first half, the Raiders opened up a 58-47 lead going into the fourth quarter and appeared to have the game in hand.
But Hudson had trouble handling Rice Lake's full-court press in the final period and let the lead slip away.
"It turned out to be a pretty dramatic finish," Scharfenberg said. "Their full-court pressure gave us some difficulty. We turned it over more than I would have liked to have seen."
The Warriors took a 61-60 lead at the peak of their run, before the Raiders battled back on top.
Junior forward Cody Holm and freshman center Seth Stanchik each sank two key free throws at the end of the game to preserve Hudson's advantage.
"Rice Lake's a quality team. They came in 3-0. They will be a top-three finisher in our conference before it is all said and done," Scharfenberg said. "It was a good victory on our home court. The guys worked hard and earned the W."
River Falls is favored to win the conference championship. The Wildcats have a good contingent back from a team that made it to the state tournament last season.
The Raider boys had a non-conference game at Shakopee, Minn., Tuesday night. They travel to Eau Claire North (0-1 in the Big Rivers) Friday night (Dec.16) before playing another non-conference game at Red Wing, Minn., Tuesday, Dec. 20.