Raiders have Cats' number
The Wildcat boys basketball team defeated every Big Rivers Conference team at least once this season except one: Hudson.
The Cats went 7-5 in BRC play, 15-6 overall, including wins over BRC champion Eau Claire North and Middle Border Conference champion New Richmond. But half of the Wildcats' six losses this year were at the hands of the Raiders, including last Tuesday's 65-45 setback in the first round of the WIAA regional tournament in Hudson.
"Basketball is a game of matchups, and for some reason we just couldn't match up with Hudson this year," Wildcat head coach Greg Gaulke said. "It seems when they play us they shoot out of their minds."
The Raiders rarely missed a shot Tuesday, making 22-of-32 field goal attempts, including 6-of-9 from long range. They also made 15-of-18 free throws.
Despite the Raiders' hot shooting, the Wildcats led 15-11 at the end of the first quarter and 20-19 at halftime. But Hudson outscored the Cats 22-13 in the third quarter and put the game away with a 24-12 fourth quarter run.
"We played a nice first half but they played better in the second half," Gaulke said.
No Wildcat hit double figures in scoring in the loss. Lance Westberg came closest with nine points before fouling out late in the game. Jason Gakeler finished with eight, including a pair of three-pointers, and McClane Sherman had six points, all from three-point range, while Marty Herum, Sean Gilbert and Eric Gilbertson scored five points each.
"When your top three scorers can't break double figures it makes it tough," Gaulke said.
Herum also led the Cats with seven rebounds and five assists. Seth Stanchik led the Raiders with 19 points.
The Cats shot 46.2 percent from the field (18-of-39), including 5-of-8 from long range, and were just 4-of-9 from the free throw line.
River Falls took a six-game winning streak into the game, but for the third time this season came out on the short end to the Raiders.
"We went from feeling super high to feeling low," Gaulke said. "We had a good year. It just ended way too fast for the average Wildcat fan."
Hudson went on to lose to top-seeded Eau Claire North, 49-46, in Saturday's regional final in Eau Claire. The Raiders ended the season with a record of 12-10 while the Huskies (17-4) move on to face Menomonie (8-13) in a sectional semifinal game Friday at UW-Stout's Johnson Fieldhouse.
Reach Bob Burrows at email@example.com or call 426-1047.