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Basketball: Raider boys ready for playoffs

Hudson freshman Luke Healy avoids a Minnetonka defender for a fast break layup in the first half of the Raide boys basketball team's 77-72 loss to the Skippers Tuesday, Feb. 20, in Hudson. Bob Burrows / RiverTown Multimedia 1 / 2
Hudson junior Keyser Helterbrand (15) puts up a shot between a pair of Minnetonka defenders in the Raider boys basketball team's 77-72 loss to the Skippers in Hudson's home finale Tuesday, Feb. 20. Bob Burrows / RiverTown Multimedia 2 / 2

The Raider boys basketball team isn't letting a seven-game losing streak dampen its spirits heading into the WIAA postseason.

The Raiders went toe-to-toe with a strong Minnetonka team before coming up short in a 77-72 loss in their home finale Tuesday, Feb. 20, before dropping a 71-52 decision at Eau Claire Memorial two nights later without leading scorer and rebounder Keyser Helterbrand.

Hudson will take an 8-14 record into this Friday's WIAA regional semifinal at No. 5 Appleton West (13-9).

Head coach John Dornfeld said the Raiders played one of their best games of the season last Tuesday against Minnetonka.

"Tremendous effort both offensively and defensively by the guys to be in it all the way against a tall and talented Minnetonka team," he said. "Likely the best team we faced this year besides La Crosse Central."

Helterbrand led three Raiders in double figures with 19 points while freshman Luke Healy scored 18 and Jacob Daulton had 13.

With Helterbrand sidelined with the flu Thursday night in Eau Claire, Healy and sophomore Charlie Neuenschwander had their first varsity starts and both played well. Healy led Hudson with 13 points and Neuenschwander had eight points and 10 rebounds while Paul Sparstad scored 11, Daulton had eight and Landen Bilse added six.

"We knew it would be challenging against Memorial being short handed. They were a tough match-up for us with their size and skill in the post," Dornfeld said. "But the guys battled all the way to the final buzzer as they have all year."

Friday's regional semifinal is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Appleton West. The winner will face either No. 4 seed Eau Claire North (19-3) or No. 13 Superior (8-14) Saturday, March 3 at the home of the highest remaining seed.

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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