In the Big Rivers Conference, you can throw records right out the window.
The 5-3, 3-1 Menomonie girls basketball team hosted the 3-4, 1-2 Hudson Raiders on Tuesday, where an off night of shooting got the better of the Mustangs and the Raiders took full advantage to rise to a 57-48 victory.
Coach Storm Harmon said the team has been working on keeping in step with other teams in the conference, but things just did not fall for them Tuesday evening.
“The whole conference has shown that its tough, from top to bottom. That’s the BRC and we don’t expect anything less each night,” he said. “Offensively, we didn’t have any girls rolling with it tonight. Our defense kept us in it as long as we could and they got loose on us in the second half.”
The first four minutes of action determined the course of the game, as the Mustangs started off shooting short and missed three of their first four freebies. Though the Raiders also had early offensive trouble, failing to capitalize points off their first five possessions, they eventually got into a rhythm and sank a pair of 2-pointers and a pair of 3-pointers to climb to a 10-3 lead with 8:28 on the clock.
A Menomonie timeout allowed them to reset and they returned to the court to go on a 7-0 run and knot the score at 10-10. A Hudson 3-pointer set the Raiders back up, but a layup from Menomonie’s Tyra Boettcher also drew a foul and added one more point to tie the score again.
Kylie Mogen then gave the Mustangs their first lead of the game with a drive to the net for two with 5:11 left until halftime. Scoring toggled to and fro for the rest of the first half, with both teams trading a 1-point lead. But it was the Raiders that pulled ahead, using their skill at the free throw line to go 4-for-4 while the Mustangs shot cold, making just two of their seven charity shots, which led to a 24-19 Raider advantage going into the second half.
Boettcher started off the second half for the Mustangs with a pair of 2-pointers and a basket from the arc, but the Raiders added a handful of field goals plus two freebies and a 3-pointer extended their lead to 35-26.
The Mustangs were not deterred, however, as they fought hard to whittle away at Hudson’s lead. A 2-pointer from Lexi Hastings was followed up a 3-pointer and field goal from Mogen. Boettcher was fouled and took to the line to add two points and a 2-pointer from Madison Davis wrapped up an 11-2 Mustang run. And just like that, the Mustangs were back within one point at 40-39 with 5:29 to go.
But the Raiders took the momentum back, using a trio of twos and sound shooting at the free throw line to go up by five (51-46) with just over one minute to go. Now with the upper hand, the Raiders forced the Mustangs to foul to stop the clock, where they polished off another six points to secure the win.
Mogen led the Mustang offense with 21 points, most of which were scored in the second half. She threw in six field goals, two from the outside and went 3-for-4 at the free throw line. Elle Hemauer finished with eight points, all from the inside and free throw line.
Boettcher ended the night with seven points, the Raiders holding her well below her game average of 13 points. She made two 2-pointers in the first half and went 3-for-6 on charity shots. Davis and Hastings each added five points apiece while Lindsey Johnson rounded out scoring with two points.
“I thought some girls uncharacteristically didn’t shoot well but that’s why your defense has to travel and be with it the whole game,” Harmon said of the team’s performance. “They (Hudson) made it hurt when we were not totally in tune or connected.”
Hudson shot lights out at 89 percent from the free throw line to collect 18 of their 57 points. They also had three players in double figures with Shayla Wallin coming in at 19 points, Sophia Jones at 11 points and Audrey Hatfield rounded out at 10 points.
The Mustangs take a long trip down to La Crosse Logan on Friday for a nonconference matchup against the Rangers and return home Thursday to host the Candy Cane Classic tournament, which extends into Friday. Menomonie will play Medford Thursday at 4:30 p.m. followed by Ashland Friday at 2:30 p.m.