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Boys hoops team finishes strong

The Hudson boys basketball team finished the season on a positive note.

After struggling in the first half of February -- largely because of an outbreak of the flu that sidelined a series of key players -- the Raiders rolled over River Falls 65-45 in the WIAA tournament opener and nearly upset Eau Claire North in the regional finals.

The Raiders fell 49-46 to the Huskies in a game played Saturday, Feb. 23, on the Big Rivers champions' home court.

The Hudson boys finished the season 12-10 overall and 6-6 in the Big Rivers Conference.

"I'm very proud of the way the kids came out and executed," Hudson coach Jason Swavely told the Eau Claire newspaper following the loss to North. "They came up short, but it wasn't due to a lack of intensity, effort or desire."

Brimming with confidence after the 20-point defeat of River Falls the previous Tuesday, and wanting to avenge two earlier 15-point losses to the Huskies, the Raiders hit the court emotionally charged on Saturday.

They jumped out to a 19-7 lead in the early going. But the Huskies responded with eight straight points and outscored the Raiders 18-4 in the second quarter, to take a 27-23 lead at halftime.

The Huskies scored 15 unanswered points over a stretch from midway through the second quarter into the first minute of the third quarter. They led 30-23 before the Raiders mounted a comeback.

Hudson regained the lead at 35-34 on a three-pointer by Nate Roeder at the close of the third quarter.

The teams traded leads five times in the hard-fought final quarter.

Roeder, the game's high scorer with 15, hit a jump shot with 1:40 remaining to give Hudson a 46-45 lead.

The Huskies' 6-foot-11 center, Evan Anderson, made two free throws with a minute left to put North back on top 47-46.

On the Raiders' next possession, a shot by Scott Formiller missed the mark, as did a put-back by Seth Stanchik, who rebounded the miss.

North's James Moist sank two free throws with 19 seconds left to end the scoring.

A three-point attempt by Hudson's Jordan Vitek in the closing seconds bounced off the rim and was rebounded by Roeder, who hurried a shot that also failed to drop through the hoop.

"We got what we wanted," Swavely was quoted as saying in the Eau Claire newspaper. "We got a good look and Vitek is one of our best outside shooters. We just couldn't make it fall."

The Raiders out-rebounded the much taller North team 31-30. Stanchik grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds.

Hudson didn't have a particularly good night shooting. The Raiders converted only 16 of 47 field goal attempts (34 percent). They did better from the free-throw line, making nine of 10 attempts.

Scott Formiller was the Raiders' second-leading scorer with 10 points. Stanchik had eight points.

River Falls routed

Inspired play and sharp shooting in the second half of the tournament opener at Hudson on Tuesday, Feb. 19, gave the Raiders the 20-point victory over the Wildcats.

River Falls led 20-19 at the end of the first half. The Raiders outscored the Wildcats 22-13 in the third quarter and 24-12 in the fourth quarter for the 65-45 win.

Seth Stanchik scored a game-high 19 points. Ben Gresmer sank three three-pointers and finished with 15 points. Nate Roeder added 13.

The Raiders defeated the Wildcats in each of their three meetings this season.

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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