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Girls hoops a win away from title

Hudson freshman Audrey Hatfield (50) puts up a shot for two of her eight points in the Raider girls basketball team's 62-47 victory over Menomonie Thursday, Feb. 8, in Hudson. Photos courtesy of Michael Huber 1 / 2
Hudson senior Kaiya Sundeen shoots a free throw in the Raider girls basketball team's 62-47 victory over Menomonie Thursday, Feb. 8, in Hudson. 2 / 2

There's no hotter girls basketball team in the Big Rivers Conference right now than Hudson.

The Raiders won two more games last week to extend their winning streak to 10 straight and put themselves in a position to earn at least a share of the BRC championship for the second straight season.

Hudson defeated Menomonie, 62-47, at home Thursday, Feb. 8 and topped Rice Lake, 63-55, Saturday, Feb. 10, on the road to improve to 9-2 in conference play, tied with Chippewa Falls for first place in the BRC standings with one game remaining. Hudson can wrap up at least a share of the BRC title on its home floor by beating Eau Claire Memorial (4-6) this Friday, Feb. 16.

"We need to come out and play our game and have confidence," head coach Jess Carney said. "This is a great opportunity that we have before us."

The Raiders, now 14-7 overall, started strong in both games last week, jumping out to an 11-point halftime lead against Menomonie (5-6, 12-8) and opening with a 13-2 run at Rice Lake (5-6, 14-7).

"We had a big win against a really nice Menomonie team on Thursday," Carney noted. "We started out strong and played team basketball throughout the game. Our defense led to turnovers and some nice transition baskets for us."

Ty Huber drained four three-pointers on her way to a team-high 20 points and had seven rebounds, two steals and three blocked shots while Kaiya Sundeen added 10 points, six rebounds and three steals. Audrey Hatfield contributed eight points and three blocked shots in the win and Shayla Wallin had eight points, six rebounds and four assists while Grace Uchytil chipped in with seven points and three rebounds.

Two nights later at Rice Lake, the Raiders held off a second half surge by the Warriors to post their 10th straight victory, 63-55.

Hudson led 32-21 at the break and built a 48-29 lead midway through the second half before holding off the home team for the win.

"It's always a tough place to play, and the girls came out strong once again," Carney said. "We were sharing the ball and had great ball movement. We stayed composed and knocked down some free throws late to close it out."

Four Raiders scored in double figures in the win, led by Wallin with 14 points. Sophia Jonas finished with 12 while Huber and Sundeen recorded 10 points each.

Wallin finished one rebound short of a double-double while dishing out four assists and blocking two shots while Hatfield added seven points and four blocked shots off the bench.

Following this Friday's BRC finale the Raiders will begin postseason play as the No. 7 seed at home against No. 10 Eau Claire North Friday, Feb. 23. The winner will move on to play either No. 2 Kimberly or No. 15 Oshkosh West at the home of the higher seed Saturday, Feb. 24.

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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