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Boys' hoops bounces back

Jordan Vitek had 20 points and Eric Schmechel scored 19 as the Raider boys' basketball team bounced back from a season-opening loss at New Richmond to post a 60-40 Big Rivers Conference win over Menomonie Friday, Dec. 11 at the high school gym.

The Raiders, now 1-1 overall, 1-0 in the BRC, will visit River Falls (3-1, 0-1) Friday night, Dec. 18 and will make up last Tuesday's cancelled game against Eau Claire Memorial (3-1, 0-0) Saturday night, Dec. 19 at home. Tuesday, Dec. 22, they host Stillwater, Minn.

Head coach Jason Swavely said it was nice to get the first win under the team's belt.

"The guys responded well from our first defeat," he said. "It was the first home game and I felt they had a sense of urgency and intensity right from the beginning. It was back-and-forth in the first quarter but then we established the block inside and Eric Schmechel had a good game. He was pretty dominant inside. Hopefully he can continue to do that against the better post players in the BRC.

When Schmechel wasn't doing damage inside, Vitek was hitting shots from the perimeter, including all four of Hudson's three-pointers.

"Jordan Vitek was steady," Swavely said. "He knocked down the shots when he had to and got other players involved."

One of those players was Matt Krier, who finished with 10 points giving the Raiders three players in double figures in scoring. Ethan Stanchik and Davy Branson finished with 4 points each while Max Hawksford contributed three.

The Raiders outscored the Indians in every quarter, opening up leads of 17-12 after one, 37-24 at halftime and 50-32 after three before going on to win by 20.

While happy with the win, Swavely said there is still work to do.

"It was certainly a big boost for our confidence," he said. "It was a big win for the team. We have to get better with the detail stuff, but that will come.

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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