RIVER FALLS, Wis.-- After an 11-day layoff, the River Falls boys’ basketball team showed no signs of rust in a nonconference matinee against Ashland Saturday, Jan. 25.
After putting 87 points on the board in a win over St. Paul Highland Park Jan. 14, the Wildcats topped the century mark for the first time in at least 20 years with a 105-47 victory over the Oredockers that wasn’t as close as the score indicates.
“After a long layoff, it was great to see the passion the boys played with,” head coach Zac Campbell said.
River Falls scored the first 15 points of the game, led 34-12 midway through the first half and 63-22 at the break before leading by as many as 58 in the second half. The 105 points is the most by a River Falls team since scoring 96 in a win over Chippewa Falls during the 2013-24 season.
The Wildcats’ first half box score would have been the envy of a lot of teams’ game totals. Senior Mike Johnson scored 24 points, junior Zac Johnson had 17 and senior Payton Flood scored 12 on their way to a career-high 35 for Mike Johnson, 28 for Zac Johnson and 15 for Flood.
“Mike Johnson had his best game of the season in finishing on balance and winning our speed zone battles up and down the court,” Campbell said. “He was the most active player on the court and was rewarded with his effort.”
Johnson was 14 of 18 from the field, including 2 of 2 from beyond the arc, and came up with six rebounds, three assists and two steals on his way to a career day.
Zac Johnson meanwhile hit four 3-pointers on the way to his 28-point day, giving him 133 3-pointers for his career and breaking the school record of 132set by current North Dakota State University sophomore Jaxon Knotek. He added six rebounds and a team-high four assists to his stat line.
“Zac has worked very hard on his game, he is the definition of a 'gym rat,’” Campbell said. “It's great to see people like Zac rewarded who have invested the time and effort into our program and their own individual games.”
Junior JT Dougherty contributed eight points and five rebounds while twin brother Liam Dougherty finished with six points, seven boards and two steals in the win.
As a team, the Wildcats shot 40 of 66 from the field, 8 of 22 from 3-point range, and 17 of 20 from the free throw line while outrebounding the Oredockers 44-19.
Hitting a certain point number is never a goal of ours,” Campbell said. “However playing to our strengths and carrying out game plan is, and that is something the boys have really bought into.”
The Wildcats, who are averaging 90 points in their last three games, improved to 9-3 overall while Ashland slipped to 6-9. River Falls will play two more nonconference games this week at La Crosse Logan (3-9) Tuesday, Jan. 28, and home against Prescott (9-3) Friday, Jan. 31.