If last week's results are any indication, things are starting to gel for the Raider boys' basketball team.
The Raiders started the week with a 52-42 nonconference win over Red Wing, Minn., Tuesday night and followed that up three nights later with an impressive 72-65 Big Rivers Conference victory over Rice Lake.
Head coach Jason Swavely said the two victories are good confidence boosters for the young team. "We're starting to breed some confidence in the young guys," he said. "As the young players start to play together they are starting to gel. Their roles are becoming defined. They understand the level they need to play at to be successful."
Friday night's victory over Rice Lake was highlighted by a career-high 42-point effort by senior guard Jordan Vitek. Vitek hit six three-pointers to help the Raiders even their BRC record at 2-2.
Rice Lake (7-4 overall, 0-3 BRC) got out to a 20-16 first quarter lead before Hudson took a one-point lead at halftime, 36-35. Hudson led by as many as 15 late in the game.
"To be able to beat a team like Rice Lake is nice; they have some good players," Swavely said. "We got off to a slow start but recovered and Matt Krier hit a shot that put us up by one at halftime. Having Jordan score 42 doesn't hurt either; he had an unbelievable game. Once he started shooting well the guys were saying, 'we have to set some screens and get him the ball.'"
Krier contributed 12 points in the victory while Eric Schmechel added eight.
Swavely said he was pleased with how the team was able to close out the game.
"I felt like we maintained our poise down the stretch," he said. "We had a 15 point lead with a minute left and they hit a couple of threes to keep it close but we were able to close out the game. We've been in several of those types of games, usually on the other end and we can't get over the hump. It's a huge difference playing in front."
He said he could see the enthusiasm among the players after the win.
"It was great to hear the guys talking after the game about how this is where we need to be. It was refreshing to hear that from the team instead of it coming from the coaches."
Davy Branson contributed six points in the victory while Ethan Stanchik and Max Hawksford finished with two each.
Three nights earlier against Red Wing, Vitek went for 22 points and Schmechel added 10 in a 52-42 Raider win.
"I know it's a cliché, but I think we got the monkey off our back a little bit with that game," Swavely said. "We had played some tough teams before that. The Superior game during the break, I thought was our best game of the season."
Hudson jumped out to a 13-8 first quarter lead and led 22-18 at the break before outscoring Red Wing 31-24 in the second half.
Branson and Krier finished with six points each while Hawksford added five and Austin Gresmer three.
After traveling to Eau Claire North (7-2, 2-0) Tuesday, Jan. 12, the Raiders, now 3-6 overall, return home to host Chippewa Falls (5-4, 3-1) Friday, Jan. 15 at 7:30 p.m.