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Tiger girls can't get any closer to upsets

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New Richmond, 54017

New Richmond Wisconsin 127 South Knowles Avenue 54017

New Richmond's girls basketball team just keeps getting closer and closer to pulling off an upset.

The only way to get closer would be to knock off one of those teams with better records.

Twice last week the Tiger girls came within a whisker of pulling off an upset. On Thursday the Tigers played at Durand and led for much of the game. Durand hit a prayer three-point shot with 20 seconds left to send the game into overtime. In the overtime period nothing went right for the Tigers and Durand won 59-49.

Last Tuesday the Tigers put a scare into Middle Border Conference co-leader Prescott. The Tigers led for much of the first half, before a Prescott rally late in the second quarter put the Cardinals ahead 26-21. The second half was a defensive battle, with Prescott holding on for a 37-32 win.

Overtime blues

The Tigers looked as if they had done everything right to win at Durand, traditionally one of the toughest road venues in the area to capture a win.

New Richmond led nearly the entire game. The Tigers led 18-9 early in the second quarter. When Durand made its charges to take the lead in the second half, the Tigers responded each time and retook the lead. The Tigers played well in both ends of the court.

It looked like the Tigers might be able to close out the win too. Durand had the ball in the final minute, trailing by three. Durand's Brittany Bauer took a desperation three-point shot with 20 seconds left on the clock. The shot rattled off the backboard and somehow went into the basket.

The snake-bit feeling has followed the Tigers much of the season.

"We've got to get a little luck," said Tiger coach Eric Russell. "We've got to create a little luck too."

Once in overtime the Tigers missed a couple close-range shots and Durand was able to pull away.

The Tigers were again led by junior guard Kelli Emerson. She finished the night with 25 points and nine rebounds.

"Kelli's last two games have been awesome," Russell said.

Jessie Mitchell led the Tigers with six steals. The Tiger defense was able to force Durand into 28 turnovers in the game, compared to 20 committed by the Tigers.

The Tigers shot well early, making 40 percent of their first half shots. That tailed off to making 23 percent of their shots in the second half.

Battling Prescott's defense

New Richmond led by six, 15-9, late in the first quarter of this game. Prescott's defense would clamp down from there, holding the Tigers to 17 points the rest of the game.

Once the Tigers were able to contain Prescott center Abby Johnson, the Tiger defense also was tough in this game. Johnson scored eight points in the first quarter, as the Tiger post players struggled to deal with her brute strength.

Russell said Shannon Timm really took on the role of battling Johnson and helped contain her over the final three quarters of the game.

Emerson had another strong game for the Tigers, scoring 17 points and not committing a turnover. Emerson and Nicole Borgen shared the team rebound lead with six each. Borgen also had three steals to lead the team.

Russell said the girls felt a good deal of pressure early in the season, feeling that they were expected to win immediately upon moving into the Middle Border Conference. He said in recent games the Tigers are playing more calmly now, and that is resulting in better on-court intensity.

"As a team, the last two games were our best," Russell said.

The Tigers complete their regular season schedule on Friday, when they play at home against Somerset. The Tigers then start WIAA Division 2 tournament play next Tuesday, at Baldwin-Woodville. New Richmond is the fifth seed in the regional, while B-W is the fourth seed. The winner of this game plays at Altoona, the top seed in the region.

Durand 59, New Richmond 49 in OT

NEW RICHMOND (49)

(FG-FT-FTA-PTS)

Mitchell 0 0-0 0, K.Emerson 9 3-4 25, L.Emerson 0 2-2 2, Haugen 1 1-2 3. Borgen 1 1-3 3, Measner 2 2-2 6, Timm 4 2-4 10. Totals 17 7-11 49.

DURAND (59)

Bauer 2 2-4 8, Johnson 2 0-0 4, Prissel 1 1-2 3, Rinholen 3 0-0 6, Auth 0 1-2 1, Tealey 7 5-9 19, Weber 5 0-0 10, Sinz 2 4-5 8. Totals 22 12-22 59.

New Richmond 14 14 12 8 1 49

Durand 9 14 16 9 11 59

Three-point goals -- K.Emerson 4, Bauer 2. Fouled out -- Sinz. Total fouls -- New Richmond 20, Durand 15.

Prescott 37, New Richmond 32

PRESCOTT (37)

(FG-FT-FTA-PTS)

Syverson 3 1-3 8, Poliak 2 0-0 6, Johnson 5 4-4 14, Sobolewski 0 0-0 0, Butler 1 3-4 5, Snapp 1 1-2 4, Gora 0 0-0 0. Totals 13 9-13 37.

NEW RICHMOND (32)

Mitchell 0 0-0 0, K.Emerson 7 0-1 17, L.Emerson 0 0-0 0, Haugen 3 0-0 6, Borgen 2 1-2 5, Measner 1 0-0 2, Timm 1 0-0 2. Totals 14 1-3 32.

Prescott 12 14 3 8 37

New Richmond 15 6 3 8 32

Three-point goals -- Syverson, Snapp, K.Emerson 3. Fouled out -- none. Total fouls -- Prescott 10, New Richmond 15.

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