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Girls bounce back after loss

One thing first-year Raider girls basketball coach Jess Carney really likes about this team is the way it bounces back after a loss. She'd just rather it didn't have to.

The Raiders were stunned on their home court, 75-63, by previously winless River Falls last Tuesday, Dec. 5. But three nights later they played one of their best games of the year in a 63-51 victory at Eau Claire North.

It's the second week in a row the Raiders have followed up a lackluster outing with a crisp, clean win.

"We're only six games in; we're still trying to find that consistency," Carney said. "But one thing I've been very pleased with is how the kids have responded. After each loss they've come out and played spectacularly."

Friday the Raiders used a 15-0 run to race out to a 23-6 lead over the Huskies and hit four three-pointers in the first half to open up a 41-22 lead at the break.

Eau Claire North started the first half with a 9-0 run and got as close as six late but the Raiders never backed down

"We controlled every part of the game," Carney said. "We outrebounded them, we had more assists, and our post touches led to open threes. We forced turnovers that led to our transition game. They made a run, which I knew they would, and we called a timeout when we were up by six to try and take away their momentum and the girls responded wonderfully and we won by 12."

Ty Huber led a balanced Raider attack with 13 points while Izzy Hanso scored 12 and Shayla Wallin contributed 10 points, eight rebounds and three blocked shots. Audrey Hatfield added nine points and Melanie Carli scored five while Kaiya Sundeen had three points and seven boards.

The Raiders started fast Tuesday at home against River Falls too but couldn't hold on to a 20-11 lead and found themselves down 38-27 at the break on their way to a 75-63 loss.

Carney noted the Raiders gave up 17 offensive rebounds to the Wildcats, leading to 16 second chance points in a 12-point game.

"You're not going to win a lot of games when you're giving up that many second chance points," she said. "They also shot really well. They were burying threes. I think they just had more energy than we did."

Wallin finished with 21 points, nine rebounds, five steals and three blocked shots in the loss while Huber had 12 points and four steals and Hatfield scored 10.

The conference split left the Raiders with a 3-3 overall record at the end of the week, 1-2 in Big Rivers Conference play. Four of the Raiders first six games have been on the road and that trend will continue with road games at Hastings this Friday, Dec. 15, and at Menomonie Tuesday, Dec. 19.

"Before New Year's we have eight road games and three home games," Carney noted. "That's not easy on a young team. But hopefully it will help us later in the 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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