Wildcats fall short in double header vs Hudson

By Joe Peine
Posted 2/7/24

The River Falls Wildcats girls’ basketball team were defeated by the Hudson Raiders on Saturday in River Falls by a score of 57-41.

The score got ahead of River Falls quite a bit by half …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Wildcats fall short in double header vs Hudson


The River Falls Wildcats girls’ basketball team were defeated by the Hudson Raiders on Saturday in River Falls by a score of 57-41.

The score got ahead of River Falls quite a bit by half time, but it played very evenly until later on in the opening frame.

Jordan Schwantz got the Wildcats an early lead with a three-pointer, and the defensive efforts of Kaelin Jalowitz also played a big role in their early success. At the 7:45 mark, Hailey Quinn drained another deep shot to retake the lead at 17-15.

However, this was the last non free throw point they would score as Hudson went on an 18-1 run to close out the period, and the Raiders went into the break up by 15 at 33-18.

Things played evenly again in the second half in large part due to the offensive performances of Jalowitz and Quinn. In fact, they finished just one point behind the Raiders in scoring in the second period at 24-23.

Jalowitz had four steals and three fast breaks just in the second half, and Quinn kept things moving making consecutive shots from beyond the arc. Ultimately, they couldn’t overcome the deficit, and they took a 57-41 loss.

Even though it was a loss, the Wildcats battled throughout, and besides one bad third of a period, they were neck and neck with Hudson the entire time.

Quinn was the highest scoring player on either team on Saturday, putting up 16 to go along with seven rebounds. Jalowitz’s performance was just as impressive though, scoring a dozen and racking up six steals.

Sophomore shooter Quinn sees only positives when she looks at her team and the way they’re trending as the postseason approaches.

“We looked really good in the start of the first half. It was tough to get up shots and know how to attack their man defense and their 1-3-1, but we just tried to stay focused and attack the basket. So, we did a good job with that,” Quinn said. “We’re feeling really good. I think our team is putting everything together, and we're going to be good the next few games. We have really meshed together well lately, and we know what we're doing. Just have to make some shots and play hard.”

Head Coach Ian Sticht gives credit to Hudson but says that they haven’t been executing as well as they’d like lately, and he hopes to work on some problem areas over these last two weeks of the regular season.

“We haven’t shot the ball well recently, and we’ve been turning it over a ton. We got completely outrebounded tonight, it’d be interesting to see how many second and third chance points they had because I’m sure it was a lot,” Sticht said. “We just have to make sure we’re taking better shots and that we’re having better possessions where we get shots more around the basket. There was a long stretch tonight where we were just shooting corner 3’s, and that leads to transition for them, and they get quick shots and are in good position for offensive rebounds while we’re not.”

The Wildcats are now entering their final week and a half of regular season play and have just four games remaining. For the seniors, these are the final conference games of their careers before the playoffs begin.

In what will be a busy week for River Falls’ players, they will play three games in five days. First up, they will travel to East Ridge on Tuesday to play their final non-conference match of the season at 7 p.m. They will then return home to host Rice Lake on Thursday and go on the road again on Saturday to play Eau Claire North, both at 7:15 p.m.

Looking forward, their final game of the regular season will be next Friday when they will host Menomonie at 7:15 p.m.

Wildcat boys

The River Falls Wildcats boys’ basketball team was defeated at home by the Hudson Raiders on Saturday by a score of 48-42.

It was a tough loss for the Wildcats who were a heavy favorite after beating the Raiders by 30 the first time they played earlier this season. It was an especially tough pill to swallow as it likely eliminates them from the hunt to be the 2023/24 Big Rivers Conference champion.

The game started slowly for both sides as defense and missed shots permeated the opening portion of the first period. After seven full minutes of play, the score was 6-all. Over the next 90 seconds, Hudson pulled out to a 12-8 lead as mid period approached.

Things kept progressing at a snail’s pace throughout the majority of the opening frame, and with 4:00 remaining they were up by six. Hudson went on a run and pulled out to an 11-point lead. That held going into the half and they finished out the half up by 11 at 29-18.

The second period was a rollercoaster for the Wildcats. There were miscues, missed passes, a lack of rhythm and balls simply not going through the net. The other problem was Hudson limiting the opportunities of River Falls’ top scorer Joey Butz.

The second half kicked off with Hudson temporarily increasing their lead to 13. River Falls couldn’t seem to gain any ground or take advantage of the opportunities they did have, so the status remained more or less quo for the first 6:00 of the period.

At the 12:00 mark, Butz got on a roll. He hit back-to-back-to-back three-pointers culminating in a Hudson timeout after the score reached 28-30.

River Falls had a golden opportunity to take the lead shortly thereafter, but this is as close as they would get to retaking control. Instead, Hudson got five offensive rebounds that ended in them getting a deep shot to put the deficit back at five. They then added on six more, two from the field and two from the line to make it 39-28 with just 6:00 remaining.

The Wildcats had some chances during the final minutes if possessions had been executed perfectly, but unfortunately that was not the case.

Still, there were some exciting moments where things looked like they might be turning around. Thirteen and 10 each sank nice shots from beyond the perimeter, and Butz managed to force his way open more than once.

Ultimately, they would fall to the Raiders by two scores at 48-42.

Butz led the team in scoring as usual at 16, but he and Severson were the only Wildcats to score double digits in the low scoring affair. Severson played a very clean game, shot efficiently and filled out the stat sheet by contributing in every category.

However, inefficiency was the defining characteristic in River Falls’ surprising loss to the Raiders. Yet sometimes the ball just won’t go in the net, and Saturday was just one of those nights.

Head Coach Zac Campbell notes that's been them recently. He says they’ve got a couple of weeks left to find it, and hopefully they can do that.

“Right now everybody knows the recipe to beat us to play high hip, deny Joe and make other people beat you from the outside. Right now, we’re not doing that, and it's far more than a physical thing. It's a mental thing. It's a confidence piece,” Campbell said. “Sometimes you play these games, and you want a quick bounce back. But we've got to find ourselves a little bit, and we’ve got four days of practice next week to do that before we go on the road trip to Rice Lake and Superior on Friday and Saturday.”

Butz says that, although they didn’t do themselves any favors against Hudson with the way things played out, he remains positive about his team’s outlook.

“I think they just out executed us. It's simple. They made more shots, and we made things very difficult. So that was the difference in the game,” Butz said. “It's better that a letdown like this happens now in the regular season than in the playoffs where we don't get to play anymore. So, we’ve got to learn from this, we’ve got to get better, and we got to make sure that this doesn't affect us in the playoffs so that we can just start fresh and hopefully make deep run.”

The Wildcats have five games left before the regular season comes to a close. In addition to the two aforementioned away games this week, they have two home games next week and one final game on the road in Menomonie the following Thursday.

This Friday’s game in Rice Lake against the Warriors tips off at 7:15 p.m., and from there, they travel to Superior to play the Spartans on Saturday at 2:30 p.m.

River Falls Wildcats, boys basketball, girls basketball, Big Rivers