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New Richmond tops boys in hoops opener

Hudson senior Eric Schmechel saves a ball from going out of bounds underneath his own basket in the first half of the Raider's 56-42 season-opening loss at New Richmond Friday night. Dave Newman photo

A young team playing its first game of the season in a hostile environment.

That's what the Raider boys' basketball team faced in its season opener at New Richmond Friday night, a 56-42 loss to the Tigers. Head coach Jason Swavely said it was a typical first game for a young team trying to find itself.

"I think going into the season we weren't sure what we were going to have," he said. "After Friday night, we have a starting point for what to work on.

"We're a young team," he added. "Right now we're trying to find a rotation and where guys fit in and develop an identity. There will be a growing pains."

Both teams started slow with Hudson leading 8-3 at the end of the first quarter. The Tigers began to find their groove in the second quarter and took a 17-14 halftime lead before opening the gap to 32-24 at the end of three and closing with a 24-point fourth quarter that made the final 56-42.

"Right away we missed a few shots and got down early, then we got in foul trouble and it all caved in," Swavely said. "We started to feel like we needed to get all the points back in one possession. To New Richmond's credit, they played really well defensively. They crashed the defensive boards and got on the offensive boards and put us in a shell offensively."

Senior Jordan Vitek led the Raiders with 12 points in the game while junior Matt Krier added 10 and sophomore Davy Branson finished with 9. Justice Harvieux and Darren O'Flanigan paced the Tigers with 11 points each.

Swavely said the team has returned to practice with a clearer picture of what it takes to compete.

"We have a lot of things to work on, on both sides of the ball," he said. "We need to leave practice every day feeling and knowing that we got better. We have to focus on getting better every day and let the wins and losses take care of themselves."

The Big Rivers Conference opener vs. Eau Claire Memorial that was scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 8, was cancelled due to inclement weather. The Raiders will host Menomonie Friday, Dec. 11 at 7:30 p.m. at the high school.

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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