HUDSON, Wis.-- It’s been a familiar script for the Hudson boys’ basketball team this season-- keep the game close through the first half or so before pulling away for a win at the end.
The Raiders followed that script again Friday night at home against Menomonie, scoring the final 10 points of the game to improve to 8-1 overall, 3-1 in the Big Rivers Conference, with a 55-45 victory over the Mustangs.
“We like to keep it interesting I guess,” senior Charlie Neuenschwander said afterwards.
Neuenschwander scored half of the Raiders’ 26 points in the first half and Hudson needed every one of them as they were locked in a 26-26 tie with the 4-7 Mustangs. Menomonie led by six with 10 minutes left and the score was tied, 45-45, at the three minute mark before the Raiders closed the game on a 10-0 run.
Neuenschwander said no matter what the score the Raiders never give up.
“We just never stop,” he said. “We always know we’re going to have a chance in every game that we play because we’re so close to each other and we trust ourselves a lot. I have great teammates here setting me up. We just know the best way to play basketball is unselfishly.”
Neuenschwander scored another 13 points in the second half to finish with a team-high 26 on the night while Luke Healy scored 14 and Brock Welle added 11.
Carter Herink hit a big 3-pointer with 10 minutes remaining to cut Menomonie’s lead to three, 38-35 and Neuenschwander came up with a steal and a layup to make it a one-point game before Healy gave Hudson its first lead of the second half, 39-38, with 9:30 remaining.
Hudson led by four, 43-39, with 6:30 left but the Mustangs tied it at 45-45 before a Healy 3-pointer gave the Raiders the lead for good, 48-45, at the 2:30 mark.
Neuenschwander had eight rebounds, three assists and four steals to go along with his 26 points. The 6-foot, 3-inch post player is averaging 15.3 points and 7.4 rebounds per game, and said he doesn’t care who he’s up against.
“It’s just a mentality that, whoever is standing in front of me, 6-8, 6-5, 7-foot, I know that I’m able to do my stuff,” he said. “I’m confident in my own moves and I know my teammates are going to keep setting me up, so it’s just that kind of mentality all the time.”
The win was the fifth straight for the Raiders, but Neuenschwander said the team can’t afford to take its foot off the gas.
“There’s room to improve; everybody knows that,” he said. “We’re playing really well right now but we still have a long way to go to where we want to be-- conference champions. I feel like we still have a shot at that and we’re going to keep giving it our all every night until we get there.”
The Raiders will hit the road for three straight games this week with conference games at Eau Claire Memorial (3-7, 2-2) Tuesday, Dec. 14 and Rice Lake (1-8, 0-5) Friday, Jan. 17 before visiting D.C. Everest (6-1) Saturday, Jan. 18.