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Somerset senior Ben Hammer (30) looks to move the ball around the perimeter as the Spartans burn time off the clock in the fourth quarter against Durand.

Somerset boys basketball looking to gain an edge

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Somerset boys basketball looking to gain an edge
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As a team in the hunt for a Middle Border Conference championship, the Somerset boys basketball team is looking for any edge it can find.


The Spartans may have found one in the second half of their 57-41 win over Durand on Friday. The win raises their season record to 9-1.

Spartan center Gaelin Elmore scored off four lob passes from guard Jack Emmert in the second half of the game as the Spartans pulled away from the Panthers. The lobs took advantage of two of the Spartans’ best offensive skills. One is Elmore’s ability to elevate above the reach of most post players in the conference. It also is another use for Emmert’s quickness. As Emmert darted past his perimeter defenders, it forced Durand’s post defenders to make a decision. When they took a step toward Emmert, it left the lob play available.

Somerset coach Brent Larson said the lob has been mentioned briefly once or twice this season, but it was the players who recognized its availability against Durand.

“It’s just the chemistry they developed,” Larson said of his senior standouts. “They’re smart enough to take it as it comes.”

Elmore finished with a game-high 21 points and Emmert scored 12 points. Emmert also doled out a season-high nine assists and led the team with three steals.

Durand is a stingy, athletic team and the Panthers slowed the pace of the first half. The Spartans were able to deal with the pace, leading 20-14 at halftime.

In the second half the Spartans took control of the pace. Elmore scored nine points in the third quarter and Emmert scored seven as the Spartans expanded the lead to 41-25 by the end of the period. The lead stayed between 15-19 points throughout the fourth quarter.

Larson said the team’s bench continued to have more of a positive impact last week. He pointed to Zach Bahr as one of the bench crew who played well, along with Austin Wodarz and Zac Waalen. The bench was a big contributor in the success of the Spartan’s press in the second half.

This was the Spartans’ second win of the week. They went to Amery last Tuesday and Spartan offense hummed, blasting the Warriors, 61-41.

This game was decided almost immediately as the Spartans rolled up a 28-8 lead in the first quarter. Emmert was unstoppable, scoring 16 of his 25 points in the first quarter.

Larson said this was the first game that Emmert and Heaven Hunt were both hot from the perimeter.

“That’s the best we’ve played this year,” Larson said. “If we can keep that confidence going, then it will give Gaelin a lot of room. It would make us a lot tougher to guard.”

Larson said this is the type of offense he envisions for the rest of the season, with Emmert, Hunt and Wodarz hitting shots from the perimeter to open up the paint.

Emmert, Hunt and Wodarz combined for 44 points as the team’s primary outside shooting threats. Elmore scored 13 points. He led the team with nine rebounds and four steals. 

The Spartans are now into the second half of their conference schedule, beginning with a home game against Osceola this Thursday. The Spartans play another MBC game next Tuesday at Baldwin-Woodville.

Dave Newman
Dave Newman has been the sports editor at the New Richmond News since 1988. He has covered the action in the Middle Border Conference, Dunn-St. Croix Conference and Big Rivers Conference for nearly 30 years.
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