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Boys basketball: Cats get big BRC win

The Wildcat boys' basketball team has been playing more of a football schedule lately.

The Cats played just their third game in three weeks last Saturday, Feb. 2, all on the road, after last week's frigid weather forced the postponement of their scheduled matchup with Hudson Thursday, Jan. 31.

It took a little while for them to get going, but they came home from Menomonie Saturday with a 55-44 victory over the Mustangs to stay in the hunt in the Big Rivers Conference.

Head coach Zac Campbell said not playing during the week was one thing, but losing four days of practice was tough to overcome.

"It was very evident in both teams that the four days off of school hit them pretty hard," Campbell said. "We can do our best to simulate game situations in practice but, losing as much time as we did this week we weren't able to catch up to the cardio and strength side of the game. To our boys credit, we were extremely aggressive to the glass and displayed a lot of grit."

The Cats pulled down a season-high 40 rebounds, 11 more than the Mustangs, while making more free throws (19) than Menomonie even attempted (11).

"Menomonie has always been a team that prides itself on its physical ability through setting a lot of hard screens and rebounding physically," Campbell said. "For us to make more free throws than the other team attempts, as well as pull down a season high 40 rebounds, speaks to the aggressiveness we played with."

Adam Feyereisen led the Wildcats with 14 points and 11 rebounds while dishing out three assists and making two steals. Zac Johnson also had 14 points, three assists and two steals and J.T. Dougherty had 12 points and six boards as the Cats improved to 11-5 overall, 5-3 in the BRC.

The Wildcats shot just 36.4 percent from the field (16 of 44) but made up for it at the free throw line, shooting 19 of 24 compared to Menomonie's 10 of 14.

"We've been in a little bit of a funk shooting the ball, which will come around. But, in the meantime, the boys have done a really good job of playing inside-out basketball and aggressively pursuing the ball," Campbell said.

Last Thursday's postponed game with Hudson was originally rescheduled for this past Monday, Feb. 4, but was postponed again when school was cancelled for the fifth time in the last six days. As of press time, no makeup date has been set.

Weather permitting, the Wildcats will play three games in seven days beginning with a nonconference home game against Baldwin-Woodville (9-7) Tuesday, Feb. 5. They'll visit Rice Lake (8-7, 1-7) Friday, Feb. 8, before a road game at Prescott (11-4) Monday, Feb. 11.

Campbell said he expects the Cats to be challenged in all three games, especially on the road.

"Rice Lake is a tough place to play and with a senior dominant team we will have to be ready for a fast paced game. They have great community support and take pride in their home court advantage," he said. "Prescott is a fun game for us that has picked up a lot of community pride. Coach (Nick) Johnson has done a great job in creating a strong basketball culture in Prescott. They have a lot of offensive firepower and have been playing very well since their leading scorer has returned from his early season injury."

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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