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Boys hoops to rely on new faces

The Hudson boys' basketball team will rely on a host of new faces to defend its Big Rivers Conference title from a year ago.

Eight players, including first team All-BRC pick Seth Stanchik and honorable mention selection Ben Gresmer, have graduated from last year's squad that finished 15-6 overall, 10-2 in the BRC.

Jordan Vitek is the most experienced of the three seniors back for the 2009-10 season. Vitek, a sixth man and part-time starter for the Raiders last season, is a strong perimeter shooter who averaged nine points per game as a junior.

"We are going to need to find additional scoring balance to go along with Jordan's efforts," Raider head coach Jason Swavely said, noting the Raiders averaged 63 points a game last season. "We are looking for solid contributions from our other seniors and are looking for our underclassmen to step up and accept the roles necessary to defend the conference title."

Six-foot, 8-inch Eric Schmechel and 6-1 guard Ben Duerst are the other seniors on this year's roster.

Swavely said Schmechel, along with 6-2 junior Matt Krier and 6-2 sophomore Max Hawksford, will be looked to fill the void left by the departure of Stanchik.

"They will all compete for inside minutes within the half court offense," he said.

Swavely said he's looking for Duerst, along with juniors Davy Branson and Jeremy Salentine, and sophomores Tyler Smrcina and Austin Gresmer to be able to score in transition and be effective in the half court set.

"Like any young team, I feel that we will need some time to come together," Swavely said. "This group is a hard-working group of players that are excited about the season."

Swavely said the Raiders, who open the season Friday night, Dec. 4 at New Richmond, then play their home opener against Eau Claire Memorial on Tuesday, Dec. 8, will need to continue to work hard if they are going to defend their conference title.

"We will need to bring great energy and focus to the floor every night if we expect to compete in the BRC this season," he said. "The BRC seems to be fairly well balanced this season."

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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