River Falls Wildcats

The River Falls boys basketball team may not have gotten the offensive performance it wanted in Thursday night’s Big Rivers Conference road game at Eau Claire North, but it did enough on defense to snap a three-game losing streak

The Wildcats held the Huskies to just 24 percent shooting from the field (11-of-45) while limiting them to nine points in the first half on their way to a 50-39 victory.

River Falls coach Zac Campbell said defensively the Cats were able to dictate the tempo of the game and use their athletic advantage to carry them to victory despite a poor offensive performance.

“We worked very hard to team defend at a high level, and thankfully it won us this game,” he said. “It was nice to be able to get a road win and break our tough streak.”

The Wildcats led 24-9 at the break and by 18 early in the second half on their way to improving to 7-6 in BRC play, 14-8 overall.

Offensively, Joey Butz was the Cats’ high scorer with 12 points while Eli Johnson finished with eight points and 14 rebounds, including nine on the offensive end. Aidan Carufel, Jake Gooden and Josh Gooden contributed six points each while Nate Gervais registered six rebounds, six assists and four steals.

Last Monday night the Wildcats ran into a buzzsaw in Prescott’s Jordan Malmlov. Malmlov hit 11 3-pointers and scored a Prescott school-record 55 points in an 86-67 Cardinal victory.

“Monday was a great example of a special effort by Malmlov from Prescott,” Campbell said. “He was engaged and playing with a superior level of confidence.”

Campbell said he thought the Wildcats were actually getting better looks at the basket than the Cardinals.

“Offensively, I liked the shots we were getting compared to the shots they were getting,” he said. “Unfortunately they were converting more difficult shots at a higher level than we were converting rhythm looks for us.”

Eli Johnson led the Wildcats with 20 points and seven rebounds and Butz scored 12 points while Josh Godden had nine. Jake Godden contributed eight points in the loss while Johan Severson had eight rebounds and four assists.

The Wildcats will host Mahtomedi (17-3) in a nonconference game Monday night before wrapping up the regular season at home against Menomonie (4-9, 9-13) Thursday.

“Mahtomedi is the fifth ranked team in the state in (Minnesota) 3A,” Campbell noted. “That will be a great game to test ourselves against top tier competition heading into the playoffs.”

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