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Raider girls give BRC co-champs a scare

Hudson's girls basketball team fell to Chippewa Falls 45-42 in its final Big Rivers Conference game of the season.

But the result on the Cardinals' home floor was a big improvement from the 28-point defeat the Raiders suffered at Hudson a month ago, and it gave them some confidence going into tournament play.

"We had them on the ropes. It was a moral victory more than anything," said Hudson coach Dave Johnson. "We know we can play with them."

The Raiders got off to a 14-8 first-quarter lead and were up 23-19 at halftime. A cold third quarter in which they were outscored 12-4 by the Cardinals proved to be their undoing.

Still, Hudson trailed by just one point with five seconds left and Chippewa Falls in control of the ball. Johnson had his team overplay the ball in an attempt to steal it, but the Cardinals threw a long pass over the defense and scored an easy bucket as time ran out.

The final score left Johnson thinking about what might have been.

"If they miss one three, we win the game," he said.

"I think we showed that we're capable of competing against a good team on their floor. That's what you want to do at tournament time - have that tenacity to compete, to really want to win and do something about it. That's the key, to do something about it."

The Raiders' fiery play encouraged Johnson.

"We didn't back down. We got after them. We got tough. We got on the boards. We played tough defense," he said.

Senior forward Jessica Tewes had an especially outstanding ballgame making eight of 13 shots from the floor and four of seven free throws for 20 points. Tewes also collected nine rebounds, had for assists and blocked two shots.

Katie Layman contributed eight points, and Megan Givens, five.

The Hudson girls finished conference play at 7-5, good for third place. Chippewa Falls and Eau Claire North, both 11-1, shared the Big Rivers title.

The Raiders opened WIAA tournament play at home Tuesday night against Menomonie. They were scheduled to meet Eau Claire North at Eau Claire in the regional final at 7 p.m. Saturday (Feb. 26) if they defeated Menomonie.

If the Hudson girls can string together two tournament wins, they'll be rewarded with a sectional semifinal game (likely a rematch with Chippewa Falls) on their home floor Friday, March 4.

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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