New Richmond boys basketball rises from the ashes
A horrendous defensive showing in the second quarter caused the New Richmond boys basketball team to crash and burn in its game against Osceola last Friday.
But from the ashes, the Tigers rose again. After being outscored 37-22 in the first half, the Tigers made an incredible charge in the second half, overtaking the Chieftains for a 65-53 Tiger victory.
There was no warning of the Tigers’ second quarter implosion. New Richmond opened the game with an 8-2 lead. Osceola began to torch New Richmond’s perimeter defense for easy drives down the lane. The Tiger post defenders stepped up when they could, but that left easy dump passes to Osceola’s Logan Miller, who scored 12 points in the second quarter. Osceola scored 11 straight points to go ahead 30-16. By the end of the quarter, the Tigers were looking at a 15-point deficit.
Tiger coach Rick Montreal didn’t scream or yell at halftime. He simply told the perimeter defenders that they would no longer be getting help if they were beaten by the player they were guarding. And if it happened too often, Montreal said they would find a spot on the bench for the rest of the night.
“They reacted positively to the higher demands. I urged them to be more accountable,” Montreal said.
The defense did its job in the second half, holding the Chieftains to eight points in each quarter. But the Tigers wouldn’t have won without senior guard Josh Geigle stepping to the forefront. Geigle scored a career-high 22 points, including 18 in the second half. One of the key plays of the second half came at the end of the third quarter. Geigle got the ball, beat his defender with a crossover dribble, and hit a shot from the elbow as the buzzer sounded, trimming Osceola’s lead to five points.
“He took the game over,” Montreal said. “He stepped up and refused to lose.”
Geigle wasn’t just scoring. He also led the Tigers with five assists and four steals in the game.
The Tigers have spent a large portion of their recent practice time on offense and it’s been paying dividends. This was the third straight game the Tigers have scored at least 50 points. In addition to Geigle’s 22 points, Connor McCann finished with 15 points and Caleb Manecke 14 points. Manecke led the Tigers with six rebounds.
The Tigers hosted the Middle Border Conference leaders last Tuesday and got their attention. The Tigers played well in the first and fourth quarters, but the Tigers’ play trailed off in the middle periods in a 62-55 loss to Prescott.
The Tigers were competitive in the first quarter because they were hitting the outside shots Prescott was giving them. The Tigers led 16-15 after a quarter, because the Tigers hit four three-pointers in the opening period.
After the first period, Prescott pushed its zone defense further away from the basket. This took away the Tigers’ open looks around the arc and the Tigers weren’t able to find open players behind Prescott’s front wall of pressure.
The Tiger offense looked best in the final three quarters when it was creating things in transition. Cole Nord and Geigle were able to create opportunities in this tempo. They both had three assists, as did senior guard Connor O’Loughlin. Geigle led the team with 12 points, followed by Manecke with 11 and McCann with 10.
The Tigers have had several games where they’ve been quite competitive in the first quarter, only to fall behind in the second. Montreal said he plans to use fewer reserves for the rest of the season to try preventing that dropoff.
“Our best quarters have been when our starters are playing most of the minutes,” Montreal said.
He said Nord and Jason Fern will be the primary perimeter reserves, with Ben Peterson as the first post player off the bench in most cases.
The Tigers fell behind by as many as 19 points against Prescott, but in the fourth quarter the Tigers showed some grit, outscoring the Cardinals 22-13 to cut the final margin to seven points.
Edged by RF
The Tigers went to River Falls on Monday night and played evenly with the Wildcats for three quarters. The Tigers couldn’t find a way to shut down River Falls leading scorer Luke Murphy, who scored 31 points as the Wildcats stepped up for the 63-54 win.
River Falls led by five points at halftime. The Tigers made a charge in the third quarter. The Tigers tied the score when Nord sank a three-pointer at the buzzer ending the quarter.
The Tigers put together a well-balanced offensive effort. Manecke led the Tigers with 13 points, Noah Berger scored 11 points and Nord and McCann each contributed 10 points. Berger led the Tigers with nine rebounds.
The Tigers begin the second half of their conference schedule this Friday when they play at Ellsworth. The Tigers will play at home next Tuesday, with Durand as the opposition.