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Basketball: Hudson girls complete season sweep of River Falls

Hudson junior Katy Fox (15) blocks a shot by River Falls' Karly Murphy (40) in the first half of the Raiders' 60-44 win over the Wildcats last Friday night in River Falls. Photo by Bob Burrows

The Raider girls' basketball team snapped an eight-game losing streak and finished off a season sweep of River Falls with a 60-44 victory over the Wildcats last Friday night in River Falls.

The Raiders led from the opening tip-off, opening up an 18-11 first quarter lead and never looking back while moving a game ahead of Menomonie into fifth place in the Big Rivers Conference standings.

"The girls really needed this one and I couldn't be happier for them," head coach Joe Behnke said. "It was nice to see all their hard work get rewarded tonight. It never hurts to play well against your close rival either."

The victory marked the first time Hudson has swept River Falls in eight years, and improved the Raiders' record to 3-7 in BRC play, 5-15 overall. River Falls dropped to 1-9 in the conference, 5-14 overall.

"The win also guarantees that we won't finish in last place in the BRC for the first time in a few years as well," Behnke said. "In the coaches' season preview that is where we were predicted to start the year, so we accomplished a lot of small victories tonight and met some season goals."

Three Raiders finished in double digits in scoring with Kindra Witthus leading the way with 17 points. Jordan Huber finished with 14 points while Sara Krier added 13 behind three three-pointers.

Anna Paquette chipped in eight points in the victory and Kaylyn Jenkins scored four while Katie Fox had two and Maggie Koehler and Ellie Whitacre each added a free throw.

The Raiders outscored the Wildcats in ever quarter, extending a 32-24 halftime lead to 45-30 by the end of the quarter on their way to the 24-point win.

"We wanted push the pace tonight and get our playmakers out in transition," Behnke said. "I thought for the most part we were able to do that, and in never hurts when you hit some shots early to get you going."

The victory came three nights after a 58-41 home loss to BRC leader Chippewa Falls.

"We had a chance to cut the lead under 10 at the five minute mark in the fourth quarter but couldn't convert," Behnke said. "You have to give a lot of credit to Chippewa Falls. They have a well balanced team and can hurt you in a lot of ways. There is a reason they are battling for the conference title. It's a good gauge for our girls to see what we are striving for."

Witthus finished with 14 points in the loss while Paquette, Fox and Krier scored six points each. Koehler added three points and Whitacre, Jenkins and Hannah Wirth scored two points apiece.

The Raiders earned the No. 8 seed for next week's opening round of the WIAA regionals and will host No. 9 Wausau East Tuesday, Feb. 26, at 7 p.m. The winner will take on top-seed Superior Friday, March 1, in Superior.

Hudson will wrap up the regular season this Thursday, Feb. 21, at Eau Claire North. 

Bob Burrows
Bob Burrows has been sports editor at the River Falls Journal since 1996 and at the Hudson Star-Observer since 2009. Prior to joining the Journal, Burrows served as sports editor with Ledger Publications in Balsam Lake, Wis. A native of Bayonne, N.J. and a U.S. Navy veteran, Burrows attended Marquette University before completing his studies at UW-River Falls in 1992.
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