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Girls hoops keeps on rolling

If you want to be in the conference title hunt you have to defend your home court. And the Raider girls' basketball team did just that in its first game of the new year Saturday, Jan. 5 with a 51-40 victory over Menomonie to move into a tie in the loss column with the Mustangs for second place.

The win moved Hudson to 3-2 in the Big Rivers Conference (6-4 overall), while Menomonie slipped to 4-2. Chippewa Falls sits atop the conference standings with a mark of 5-0.

Hudson head coach Jess Vadnais pointed to the Raider's tenacious defense as a key to Saturday night's win. The Raiders held the Mustangs to 40 points on 23 percent shooting from the field.

"Our defense is definitely our identity," Vadnais said. "It leads to great overall play on both ends of the floor for us."

That strong defense led to Hudson scoring 16 of its 29 first half points in transition. They kept up that pace in the second half, outscoring the Mustangs by six on their way to an 11-point victory.

"We got out and ran in the first half, which was a goal of ours heading into the game," Vadnais said. "We take pride in being a very well conditioned team and it was a nice team win. Nobody ever cares who scores or who gets the most shots, they just want to win."

Lauren Stolzman was the lone Raider in double figures in scoring with 20 points. Sophia Jonas contributed nine points and a team-high six assists while Audrey Hatfield added eight points and 12 rebounds. Grace Johnson pulled down nine rebounds while blocking a team-high five shots.

The win was the fifth in the last six games for the Raiders, and Vadnais said she likes the way the team is playing right now.

"We are coming together nicely, getting more comfortable every game," she said. "I hope we can continue to progress. It's fun getting to be in the gym with this team every day. They bring a lot of energy and unselfishness."

Next up for the Raiders is a BRC matchup at Rice Lake Friday, Jan. 11. They visit Stillwater for a nonconference game Monday, Jan. 14, before returning to conference action at home against Eau Claire Memorial Friday, Jan. 18.

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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