“We kinda emphasized it in ….
“We kinda emphasized it in practice this last week,” Hupf said of the Raiders’ inside attack. “We didn’t know if Peyton was going to be back or not, so coach said he wanted me to take a lot of post shots. We got it done tonight and I was finding the back of the net. It worked good.”
Speaking of Kuhn, he did start the game after not playing at all against Merrill and hit two 3-point shots in the opening half. Joe Sullivan added a 3-pointer in the half and, as he’s done on several occasions this season, he got to the rim and got a big score just before the buzzer.
“We said he’s going to be warm from warm-ups, let’s see what he can do,” Brown said of the decision to start Kuhn. “We told the guys in the locker room don’t expect a lot. They expected to beat Merrill without him. We said if Peyton gives us anything, it’s like frosting on top of the cake. You need to have the mindset that it’s going to be us doing it without Peyton because we have no idea what he’s going to be able to give us. But obviously he made that first 3, and he moved pretty well. It was not as well as what he can. He couldn’t really attack much. I think that first 3 got our team going, knowing he was going to be there. I think it gave him confidence. Man that was a courageous effort.”
“Any of these guys can come out there and fill their roles,” Kuhn said. “We have a lot of guys on our team that are strong. With any of us mixed together we know we’ll play well.”
“We knew we were going to miss Peyton, but we have players besides him who can play without him,” senior Nate Retterath said. “We just did our best and we pulled through. He’ll be back next week full strength and we’ll be even better.”
Kuhn admitted when he turned the ankle in practice last week that he feared his season was over.
“When I first got injured, I couldn’t really walk,” he said. “I was actually really nervous that I wouldn’t play the rest of the year. I’ve been icing it, really working on it to get better. (Friday) I started to walk in the morning. I came out for warm-ups. I didn’t get to play, but I know my team’s good enough to win without me. I’m glad they stepped up big. Today, it just got better and better. I’m praying to God that it keeps getting better and that will get me to be where I need to be for these next couple games.”
The Raiders made sure their season would continue by making shots when they needed them in the second half.
Hodag Ross Skeen hit back-to-back 3s to pull his team within 31-24, but Logan Baumgartner scored off a Kuhn assist and then got a steal and score of his own to push the lead back to 11. When a 6-1 spurt pulled the Hodags within 36-32, Baumgartner calmly sank a right-wing 3-pointer that was answered by a Quinn Lamers triple. Baumgartner and Hupf came right back by scoring in the paint to extend the lead back to eight at 43-35.
A Towne trey made it 48-42 with just over six minutes left. But the ball went back inside to Hupf, and he again came through with a three-point play at the 5:27 mark. The Raiders forced a turnover and Ty Baker made a nice move along the left baseline to get to the rim and make it 53-42. He scored again inside to answer a Jacksen Smith 3-pointer to keep the lead in double digits at 55-45 heading into the final three minutes.
“The old saying goes it’s hard to beat a team three times in a row,” Baker said after his eight-point, six-rebound outing. “We knew that if we do what we do, we’d be just fine.”
“We responded, whether it was Brady inside or Peyton hitting a shot,” Brown said. “Logan hit a huge 3 when they cut