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Girls Basketball: Wildcats edged by Mustangs

River Falls' senior Bailey Reardon (23) puts up a shot over a pair of Menomonie defenders in the first half of the Wildcat's 58-55 loss to the Mustangs Friday night, Feb. 1, in River Falls. Bob Burrows / RiverTown Multimedia

Bailey Reardon and Kylie Strop scored 24 points each but the Wildcats got just seven points from everybody else in a 58-55 Big Rivers Conference loss to Menomonie Friday night, Feb. 1, in River Falls.

The Cats battled back from a double-digit deficit midway through the second half to pull within two in the final minute but couldn't get any closer. They dropped to 8-8 overall, 3-5 in the BRC, while Menomonie improved to 7-2 in conference (13-3 overall) to leapfrog idle Hudson into second place.

River Falls led by four, 24-20, late in the first half following a drive by Reardon and a Strop three-pointer but the Mustangs closed the half on a 7-0 run to take a 27-20 lead at the break.

Menomonie opened the second half with a 14-4 run to go up 41-28 with 13:40 remaining and led 52-41 with six minutes left before the Wildcats went on an 8-0 run to get back in the game.

Strop started things with a three-pointer and Reardon followed with a drive before Reardon hit from beyond the arc to pull the Cats within three, 52-49, with 4:25 remaining.

A Taylor Weick three-pointer with 2:25 left made it a 54-52 game and Maddi Kealy answered a Menomonie basket with one of her own with 45 seconds left to make the score 56-54.

After the teams traded turnovers the Mustangs got a pair of free throws with 15 seconds left to stretch their lead to four, 58-54. A Wildcat three-point attempt was off target and Reardon was fouled with 1.5 seconds left. She made the first free throw and missed the second but the Mustangs secured the rebound to escape with the win.

Strop hit four three-pointers in the loss while 15 of Reardon's 24 points came in the second half. Weick finished with five points and Kealy had two to round out the Wildcat scoring.

The Cat's return to action with a nonconference game at Stillwater Tuesday, Feb. 5, before hosting Rice Lake (3-14, 1-7) Thursday, Feb. 7, at 7:15 p.m.

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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