New Richmond boys basketball aims at home winning streak
One win, wire-to-wire.
The confidence-starved New Richmond boys basketball team produced one of its most consistent efforts of the 2013-14 season in defeating Durand 57-52 last Thursday. In the win, the Tigers found a goal to build toward for the rest of the season.
This was the first of four straight home games for the Tigers. Coach Rick Montreal presented the game as an opportunity to start a four-game win streak. The Tigers, now 4-12 with the win, were scheduled to play the second of those home games against Baldwin-Woodville on Tuesday. The third of the home games arrives Thursday against Amery and the fourth will be played next Tuesday against Somerset.
In the win over Durand, the Tigers jumped out to a 9-2 lead and never gave up the lead the rest of the way. They had to withstand an 8-0 charge by Durand that cut the Tigers’ lead to one point in the final minutes of the game. Jason Fern hit a pair of free throws in the final seconds to seal the win for the Tigers.
For most of the season the Tigers have been searching for building blocks they can use as a foundation for the team. Those blocks have begun to emerge, led by junior Josh Geigle and senior Connor McCann.
Geigle scored 18 points to lead the Tigers against Durand. He has scored in double figures in five of the past six games, averaging 14.5 points in that stretch. He’s also played a steady floor game, with at least three assists in the last five games.
McCann’s offensive production has been something the Tigers can count on. He’s scored in double figures each of the last five games and he’s been able to score right away, helping the Tigers get out to good starts in most of their recent games.
“Connor’s really shot the ball well,” said Tiger coach Rick Montreal. “He knows who he is and that’s what he does.”
The win against Durand was one of the Tigers most consistent efforts throughout a game this season. The Tigers have been a great first quarter team, but the second and third quarters have often seen a sharp decline in their play. That didn’t happen against Durand. The Tigers built a 16-11 lead in the first quarter and they extended it in the second quarter, to 30-22 by halftime. The teams played evenly in the third quarter.
Though Durand put on heavy pressure in the fourth quarter, the Tigers showed they could handle it. Montreal said the team hasn’t been in a position of having to preserve a lead often this season. The Tigers hit 8-12 free throws in the fourth quarter, which helped them to hold off Durand.
Junior center Noah Berger hit 6-7 free throws, part of his 14-point performance. He and Fern shared the team lead in rebounds with seven each. Berger and Caleb Manecke each stole the ball three times to lead the Tigers in that category.
Montreal said one of the areas of progress that showed against Durand was the team’s defensive play. He said continuing that progress will be crucial as the team tries to put together a winning streak.
“I know we’ve improved offensively. If we keep improving defensively (the win streak) is a very realistic goal,” Montreal said.