Area Male Athlete: C-I's Hudrlik coming of age
Daniel Hudrlik is just a junior.
For many who have watched him start for the Crosby-Ironton Rangers boys basketball team since he was an eighth-grader that’s hard to remember.
That and the fact he’s one of the most powerful post players around.
The 6-foot-3 forward has added a few more weapons to his game this season.
“If you look at his game, every year his statistics have improved,” said Rangers head coach Dave Galovich. “A lot of that comes with experience, but it’s also him becoming a better athlete and also he’s worked on developing his basketball skills. He’s a lot tougher. Once he gets the ball in the lane, it’s tougher to stop him than it was in previous years.”
Hudrlik has also developed some range with his shot. He’s hit 5-of-14 from 3-point. He made eight 3-pointers all of last year.
“I’ve been working a lot at getting better both inside and outside,” said Hudrlik. “Looking at our team last year I knew we would miss Caleb (Baker) a lot so I knew I needed to become a better player and help the team grow. I’ve been working on my shot over the summer. I went to a lot of camps and played in a lot of tournaments to get better. I’m pretty confident shooting the ball right now.”
Hudrlik leads the Rangers with 17.3 points per game. He’s shooting 54 percent from the field and is averaging 6.9 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 1.5 blocks per game.
Last season, Hudrlik averaged 13.3 points and 7.4 rebounds a game. He shot 54 percent from the field and added 1.6 blocks, 2.1 steals and 1.1 assists per game.
“We really haven’t changed what we have been doing for the last number of years, but we do a few things offensively to isolate the post more than we have in the past,” said Galovich. “One situation where Daniel really helps us is in breaking the press. We have no problem with him taking the ball at half court and attack the basket. He’s difficult to stop. In the past we haven’t had many post men who could help us break the press. Daniel is a big asset that way.”
Hudrlik posted 22 points and 14 rebounds in the Rangers’ 88-58 win over Cass Lake-Bena Jan. 9. He added 26 points in C-I’s 74-54 win over Duluth Marshall Jan. 11.
On Dec. 13 at Park Rapids, Hudrlik scored nine points to become the 10th Ranger boy to reach 1,000 career points.
“One of my goals was to get 1,000 points,” said Hudrlik. “My other goal was to be a bigger leader than I was last year and for our team to go farther than we did last year.
“I think we can be pretty good. We have five or six seniors and they all contribute and are all good players. Brady (Tesdahl) has been playing with me for a long time. I know we can be one of the top teams.”
Other notable performances:
Basketball: Jalen Busker, Staples-Motley, finished with 24 points and 14 rebounds against Verndale.
Eric Blaha, Verndale, finished with 24 points and 11 rebounds against Staples-Motley, scored 32 points against Underwood and finished with 36 points and 19 rebounds against Wadena-Deer Creek.
Jared Reintiz, Wadena-Deer Creek, scored 27 points against Park Rapids.
Abe Imdieke, Lake Region, finished with 24 points, five assists and five rebounds against Northland.
Aaron Weber, Pierz, scored 23 points against Howard Lake-Waverly.
Conner Uselman, Pillager, scored 22 points against Bertha-Hewitt.
Wrestling: Caleb Kreitter and Cole Grinsteiner, Crosby-Ironton, won individual titles at the Nighthawk Invite.
Alex Erpelding, Staples-Motley, won an individual title at the Nighthawk Invite.
Anthony Phillipson, Pequot Lakes/Pine River-Backus, went 3-0 in the Osakis duals.