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Young Raiders still learning

Hudson junior Jacob Daulton (20) drives the lane for two of his 11 points in the Raiders' 73-54 Big Rivers Conference loss at River Falls Tuesday, Dec. 5. Bob Burrows / RiverTown Multimedia 1 / 2
Hudson junior Paul Sparstad (12) is fouled on the arm by River Falls' Payton Flood while trying to bring the ball up court in the first half of the Raiders' 73-54 loss to the Wildcats Tuesday, Dec. 5, in River Falls. Bob Burrows / RiverTown Multimedia 2 / 2

The Raider boys basketball team played much better Friday Dec. 8 against Eau Claire North than it did earlier in the week in a 73-54 loss at River Falls, but the outcome wasn't any different against the conference co-favorite Huskies.

Raider coach John Dornfeld said Hudson played its best half of basketball this season and went into halftime leading the Huskies, 30-23. But North showed why it's picked by many to win the Big Rivers Conference title this year and outscored the Raiders by 23 points in the second half to post a 67-51 victory.

"The final score was certainly not indicative of how close the game really was," Dornfeld said. "I really feel like as this young team continues to learn and grow that we will do a better job of finishing games and playing a full 36 minutes of good basketball. I really feel that although we lost, this game was a step forward for our kids and seeing that we can compete well with the best teams in our conference."

Dornfeld praised the Raiders' defensive effort in the first half.

"Our defensive effort was outstanding and something we'll continue to build on," he said. "To North's credit they came out and executed their offense very well in the second half and we were just not able to sustain our level of play."

Keyser Helterband finished with 13 points in the loss and Jacob Daulton had eight while Peyton Reece and Landen Bilse scored seven apiece. Freshman guard Luke Healy contributed six points in his first extended action of the season while Paul Sparstad scored five, Charlie Neuenschwander had three and Ethan Kostynick had two.

Three nights earlier at River Falls the Raiders dug themselves a 14-point hole by halftime before going on to lose 73-54.

"For the first time this year we were really outplayed," Dornfeld said. "The biggest contributing factor was our inability to keep River Falls off the offensive glass. They had numerous second chance opportunities that led to too many easy baskets. In many cases we played well defensively through the possession and forced them into some tough shots but we didn't finish with the defensive rebound. We also missed many makeable shots around the basket that we have been making through the first three games."

River Falls outrebounded the Raiders 41-21, with 17 of their rebounds coming off the offensive glass. The Wildcats also shot 52 percent in the game compared to 32 percent for Hudson.

Helterbrand led all scorers with 25 points while grabbing a team-high seven rebounds. Daulton had 11 points and six boards and Bilse scored eight points while Reece and Neuenschwander scored four each.

Hudson, now 2-3 overall, 1-2 in the BRC, begins a five-game stretch against nonconference opponents when it hosts Blaine this Friday, Dec. 15, at 7:15 p.m. They will host Tartan Tuesday, Dec. 19 at 7:15 p.m. and visit St. Paul Central Thursday, Dec. 21 before facing West DePere and La Crosse Logan in a holiday tournament in Wisconsin Rapids Dec. 27-28.

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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