Boys 5-0 in ’09So far the new year has been very good to the Wildcat boys’ basketball team.
By: Bob Burrows, River Falls Journal
So far the new year has been very good to the Wildcat boys’ basketball team.
The Cats won their fifth straight game of 2009 with a 36-34 victory at Eau Claire North Friday night. Earlier in the week they manhandled St. Paul’s Hill-Murray, 64-36. The two wins upped the Wildcats’ record to 7-2 overall.
They put their 3-2 Big Rivers Conference mark on the line this week with a Tuesday road game at Chippewa Falls (7-5, 3-3) before returning home to host first-place Hudson (9-1, 6-0) Friday night at 7:30 p.m..
Wildcat head coach Greg Gaulke said his team can’t afford to relax.
“We’ve won five in a row and now the games get tougher,” he said. “But the building process is there. We beat a very good private school and went on the road and had to come back from being down in the second half. Those were two nice wins.”
The Cats scored just three points in the second quarter and trailed 20-12 at halftime against Eau Claire North Friday before turning up the defensive pressure and forcing 11 Husky turnovers in the final 16 minutes. Eau Claire North finished with 18 turnovers in the game.
“Our traps were just ruthless,” Gaulke said. “We forced the turnovers and that led to some good transition baskets, and Lance (Westberg) hit some big baskets.”
Marty Herum hit a three-pointer with 2:02 remaining to give River Falls a 34-31 lead but the Huskies tied the score with a three of their own with 1:37 to play. The Cats then ran the clock down to 14 seconds before calling a timeout.
“We were going for overtime or the win,” Gaulke sad. “We took the timeout and set up an inbound play with two reads, one of our classic plays. Marty read it perfectly and scored the layup.”
The Huskies got the ball back with 10 seconds to go but the Wildcat defense clamped down and never let North get off a shot.
“It was just a phenomenal high school game,” Gaulke said.
Westberg hit three three-pointers in the win and led the Cats with 13 points while Sean Gilbert added 12. Herum finished with seven points and Zach Pavlichek added four to account for all the Wildcat scoring. Tyler Brown led the Huskies with 15.
Last Tuesday against Hill-Murray, Gilbert led all scorers with 23 points and Marty Herum and Jack Herum combined for 21 points as the Cats held Hill-Murray to a season-low 36 points.
“I watched them play at Red Wing the Saturday before and I knew we would have to play a great game,” Gaulke said about Hill-Murray. “We were prepared for them and everything went right. Our defense was phenomenal, our shooting was good. I just thought we took them apart.”
The Wildcats led 17-7 at the end of one and 27-17 at halftime before opening a 47-30 lead by the end of three. Junior Marty Herum finished with 11 points and sophomore Jack Herum contributed 10.