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Girls take care of BRC business

Wildcat junior Paige Lucking, left, battles Hudson's Kindra Witthus for control of a loose ball in the second half of the Cats' 54-42 victory over the Raiders last Tuesday at the high school gym. River Falls went on to defeat Eau Claire Memorial, 55-37, Friday on the road to go 2-0 on the week. Bob Burrows photo

The Wildcat girls' basketball team took early leads in both of its games last week and never let up on its way to a pair of Big Rivers Conference victories -- 54-42 over Hudson and 55-37 over Eau Claire Memorial.

Monday night the Cats dropped a 53-41 nonconference decision at Durand.

River Falls, now 4-5 in the BRC, 8-8 overall, will host conference leader Menomonie (7-1, 14-1) Thursday at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 16, they will host Altoona (8-6).

Last Tuesday at home against Hudson, the Cats jumped out to a 16-4 first quarter lead and never looked back on their way to a 54-42 victory.

River Falls led 27-15 at halftime and Hudson pulled to within eight, 33-25 in the third quarter. But a three-pointer by Emily Blasius with 45 seconds remaining in the quarter helped the Wildcats open up a 39-27 lead with eight minutes to play.

The Cats took their biggest lead of the game, 47-30, on a three-point play by Tessa Wells with 5:49 remaining. Hudson cut the gap to nine, 48-39, with 2:25 remaining, but the Cats hit 6-of-8 free throws down the stretch to earn the win.

Wells led River Falls with 18 points while Aimee Dusek added 11, including three three-pointers. Sarah Vitale contributed 9 points in the win and Blasius finished with 7 while Paige Lucking scored 3 and Abby Purfeerst, Masy Engel and Brooke Reardon chipped in 2 each.

Friday at Eau Claire Memorial, the Cats led 15-8 after one and 29-19 at halftime on their way to a 55-37 victory.

Wells led all scorers with 20 points and Vitale finished with 8 while Blasius and Lucking chipped in 5 points each. Engle finished with 5 points and Kayla Kusilek added 4 while Dusek and Lindsey Yunker had 3 each and Purfeerst added a free throw.

Monday night, Wells scored a game-high 26 points but Durand outscored the Wildcats 22-10 in the second and third quarters to hold on for the win. River Falls trailed 41-23 after three ad outscored the Panthers 18-12 in the fourth quarter but came up short.

Vitale finished with 7 points in the loss while Blasius scored 4 and Dusek and Engel added 2 each.

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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