Wildcats fall to Eau Claire North
The River Falls Wildcats boys basketball wasn't able to match the offensive output of Eau Claire North's Jack Kron and Dalton Banks (who scored 26 and 23 points respectively) and fell to the Huskies 61-41 at home on Friday, Jan. 19.
Jaxon Knotek and Adam Feyereisen led the Wildcats offense with 11 and 10 points respectively, while Aaron Baillargeon added eight points and Payton Flood chipped in seven points. Feyereisen led the team in assists with three, while Mike Vitt had two assists.
"There are a lot of individual things you can breakdown but, Friday night was a very good example of the power of mental toughness and having a winner's mindset," said coach Zac Campbell. "Offensively we executed as well as we have in the past couple of weeks getting a number of good looks from outside and as the game went on, a number of opportunities to finish at the rim."
The Wildcats trailed 31-20 at halftime, but couldn't put together much more offense in the second half, scoring just 21 points to Eau Claire North's 30.
"Defensively, while I didn't feel we were at our best off the ball, I thought we made enough good slides on the basketball forcing them into contested shots that they converted at a good rate," Campbell said. "There were a lot of three possession swings that we would have a couple good looks and not be able to convert while North would counter with finishing a tough shot that we defended. The team that wins more runs, which we consider winning three consecutive possessions, generally wins the game."
River Falls was 14 of 35 shooting at the two-point range and made just two of the nine shots they took from behind the arc. The Wildcats were able to out rebound the Huskies, picking up 26 rebounds (nine offensive and 17 defensive) compared to the Huskies 19 (four offensive and 15 defensive).
"We really did do a lot of good things in this game from out rebounding them even when taking more shot attempts, running much cleaner actions, and keeping our turnover number to single digits," Campbell said. "Holding one of their returning all conference players to one point when he averages 17 a game was one of the more impressive individual defensive performances we've had this season. We simply allowed the circumstance of shots not falling to affect our ability to play with energy and activity. Once you get down against a team like North with guards who are so skilled, it's very tough to come back."
Monday's game versus Baldwin-Woodville was rescheduled to Tuesday, Feb. 6, due to weather. The Wildcats will be back in action on Friday, Jan. 26, at Hudson.
"Hudson has been playing really well since break, winning six of their last seven. They are a team playing with a lot of confidence and have a lot of players capable of scoring the basketball," Campbell said. "For us to be able to compete with them at their place we will need to be a loose, confident group taking pride in our defense and rebounding."