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Basketball: Boys improving on hardwood

Raider senior Jordan Vitek glides to the basket in the second half of Hudson's 41-38 loss to North St. Paul Saturday night. Vitek finished with 10 points in the game.1 / 2
Hudson's Davy Branson (23) is fouled while driving to the basket late in the second half of Saturday's nonconference game against North St. Paul. Branson hit a pair of free throws to give the Raiders a 32-30 lead with 3:11 remaining but North St. Paul fought back for a 41-38 victory. Bob Burrows photo2 / 2

The Raider boys' basketball team hosted a pair of Minnesota opponents in back-to-back nonconference games over the weekend and came away with a split.

Hudson defeated Edina, 54-50, Friday night before falling to North St. Paul, 41-38, Saturday.

The Raiders, now 5-8 overall, 3-3 in the Big Rivers Conference, begin the second half of their BRC schedule with road games at Eau Claire Memorial (11-3, 6-0) on Tuesday, Jan. 26 and Menomonie on Friday, Jan. 29 at 7:30 p.m. (0-12, 0-6) this week. They return home to host River Falls (9-4, 2-3) on Thursday, Feb. 4, at 7:30 p.m.

Hudson head coach Jason Swavely said he felt the Raiders could have won both of their games last weekend.

"We gave more effort Friday night and I think they thought they could just go through the motions Saturday," he said." Nonetheless, I feel like Edina was a good win for us."

Jordan Vitek led the Raiders with 17 points Friday, including a pair of three-pointers, while Davy Branson finished with 16 points. Ethan Stanchik contributed 10 points for Hudson while Matt Krier added eight.

"Ethan Stanchik, for a freshman he's been giving a great effort on defense and is starting to contribute on offense," Swavely said. "Matt Krier has stepped up at both ends of the floor. We continue to play together and the guys are starting to know each other, and we're getting solid contributions from different guys."

After being held to just two points in Friday night's win over Edina, Eric Schmechel led all scorers with 14 points Saturday but it wasn't enough as the Raiders came out on the short end of a 41-38 score.

The game was back-and-forth all night. Schmechel scored four straight points to give the Raiders a 28-25 lead with nine minutes remaining and Krier hit a layup with six minutes left to keep Hudson ahead, 30-27.

Branson hit a pair of free throws with 3:11 remaining to give the Raiders their last lead of the game, 32-30.

North St. Paul

North St. Paul led by as many as seven in the final minute before three pointers by Branson and Vitek made the final 41-38.

"It was a disappointing loss Saturday," Swavely said. "I felt like we had the better team but we just didn't finish."

In addition to Schmechel's game-high 14 points, Vitek and Branson each finished with 10 while Krier added four.

Despite the loss, Swavely said he feels the Raiders are continuing to improve.

"I do think the guys are making a lot of progress," he said. "We're a lot better right now than we were a few weeks or a month ago. The progress is there; we've gotten better in all phases of the game."

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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