Boys Red Wing Tip-Off champs
One of the big question marks surrounding this year's Wildcat boys' basketball team going into the season was who was going to pick up the scoring after the graduation of three-all-conference players from last year's team.
It got an answer in the championship game of the Red Wing Tip-Off Classic Saturday as four players scored in double figures to lead the Cats to the tournament title.
River Falls defeated Faribault 71-62 in the championship game after beating tourney host Red Wing, 64-49, in Friday's semifinal. The Cats opened the season by trouncing Durand, 57-27, last Tuesday.
"We definitely got some answers," head coach Greg Gaulke said about the Cats' 3-0 start to the season. "When you get three or four guys in double figures every game, it's a coach's dream."
The Cats got 20 points each from brothers Marty and Jack Herum in Saturday's title game against Faribault. Zach Pavlichek added 16 points in the win while Ben Wunrow finished with 13. Jack Herum, a junior, also pulled down 11 rebounds for his first career double-double.
The score was tied, 31-31, at halftime before the Cats hit their free throws down the stretch to earn the win.
"Faribault is one of the best outside shooting teams I've seen in a long time," Gaulke said about the Falcons, who hit 8-of-22 three-point attempts in the game. "We just couldn't put them away. One minute we'd be up by seven and two possessions later we're up by one."
Gaulke said the Cats spread the Faribault defense out in the second half and were able to score by driving and slashing to the basket. Once they built a lead they slowed the game down and denied Faribault possessions.
"The boys played a smart fourth quarter," Gaulke said. "You can't shoot the threes if you don't have the ball."
Faribault started fouling at the end but the Cats hit their shots from the line, including 4-of-4 by Wunrow.
The Cats reached the title game with a 64-49 win over Red Wing. The Wingers led by two, 25-23, at the break before the Cats erupted for 41 points in the second half.
Marty Herum led River Falls with 18 points and McClane Sherman added 15 while Pavlichek finished with 9, Wunrow 8 and a team high 5 rebounds, and Colin Pechacek 7.
"We didn't have a good first half," Gaulke said. "But we came out and had a wonderful second half and played good team basketball. Sherman had a great third quarter."
In the season-opener last Tuesday at Durand, Jack Herum finished with 12 points, Pavlichek had 11, Marty Herum scored 9, Rickey Troester chipped in 8 and Sherman finished with 7 in the Cats' 57-27 victory. River Falls led 32-8 at halftime.
After traveling to Eau Claire North Tuesday and Chippewa Falls Friday, the Cats will host Amery in the home opener Tuesday, Dec. 15, at 7:30 p.m.