Tiger girls bow out of basketball playoffs against Rice Lake
The New Richmond girls basketball team was the first of three victims that fell to Rice Lake in the WIAA Division 2 regional basketball tournament last week.
Rice Lake was the third seed in the region, but the Warriors defeated New Richmond, Ashland and Hayward to win the regional championship. Rice Lake will now face Sparta in the Division 2 sectional semifinals at 7 p.m. on Thursday at Eau Claire North.
New Richmond fell to Rice Lake 55-26 in the opening round of regionals last Tuesday. The Tigers end the season with a 3-20 record. The Tigers lost their final 16 games of the season.
Rice Lake jumped out to a 17-4 lead in the first quarter and by halftime the margin stood at 30-11. Junior Kat Keller led the Tigers with eight points in the loss.
Coach Jeff Kanewischer said the Tigers were able to generate quality shots against Rice Lake. Shooting accuracy has been one of the Tigers' biggest flaws this season and that continued in the tournament loss.
Rice Lake has exceptionally quick guards. The Warriors used that quickness to force the Tigers into turnovers. As the Tigers began to fall behind, they got more impatient on offense and the quality of their shots steadily tailed off.
"You saw a skilled team against a team of good athletes," Kanewischer said. "Skill-wise, we just didn't match up with them."
The Tiger coaches have already begun to address the skills aspect of the team. A team meeting was held with girls in the basketball program in grades 6-11 on Tuesday. The coaches gave out a number of skills drills the girls can work at on their own in the off-season to improve their basic basketball skills.
"They need to commit more to improving their skills and improving their strength," Kanewischer said.
The Tiger freshman team had a great deal of success this year and the junior varsity had one of its best seasons in recent years. With most of the varsity players returning, Kanewischer said there is more talent returning in the program than there has been in some time.
The Tigers graduate two seniors, point guard Laura Troftgruben and forward Meghan Frank.
"I tip my hat to Laura and Meghan," Kanewischer said. "They're great girls, great athletes. They'll be missed."