Tigers make it three straight, knock off Ellsworth 58-48
Winning three straight games has completely changed the on-court attitude of the New Richmond boys basketball team.
After opening the season 1-10, the Tigers won their third straight game last Thursday, 58-48 at Ellsworth. With the win the Tigers are now 4-6 in the Middle Border Conference. This leaves them one game out of third place, where Baldwin-Woodville, Osceola and Prescott are tied with 5-5 records.
Thursday's game was different for the Tigers because it was likely the first where they were favored to win this season. They had beaten Ellsworth in the first round of MBC play. Tiger coach John Elkin had reminded his players entering the game that there probably isn't a game more important to Ellsworth than this one, because Ellsworth coach Pedro Renta teaches in New Richmond.
Elkin said the string of wins has caused a noticeable change in the players' aggressiveness.
"It's a huge difference," he said. "Everyone has stepped up because they're more confident. I'd rather have them think the aggressive way instead of worrying about making a mistake."
The game was close throughout the first half. In the third quarter the Tigers began finding their shooting touch from the perimeter, led by senior Scott Meyer who scored 15 points.
Ellsworth was playing without center Jared Hines, who was ill. His absence opened up the lane for the Tigers, especially when Ellsworth's defense had to stretch out to contest the Tigers' outside shooting.
During stretches of the fourth quarter the Tigers got the lead up to 18 points. The Tigers then had some trouble hitting free throws down the stretch and Ellsworth was able to cut the final margin to 10 points.
The Tigers' ability to attack the Ellsworth defense resulted in the Tigers having a huge free throw advantage in the game. Without Hines Ellsworth was largely a perimeter shooting team. That resulted in the Panthers shooting 12 free throws, while the Tigers went 24-36 from the line.
Freshman Brock Peterson led the Tigers with nine rebounds and three steals and he and Emerson each produced four assists. Jeff Engel led the efforts of the Tiger post players by scoring 12 points and getting seven rebounds.
Elkin was pleased with Kyle Steen and Lee Stovall, who share the Tigers' other post position. Steen came down with six rebounds and Stovall continues to improve his aggressiveness when he gets the ball on the low block.
The Tigers will try to improve their status in the MBC when they play another of the teams that's improved substantially since the start of the season, Baldwin-Woodville. The Tigers play another MBC game next Tuesday, when they travel to Somerset.
New Richmond 58, Ellsworth 48
NEW RICHMOND (58)
Engel 2 8-11 12, Emerson 1 0-2 2, Fletch 0 4-4 4, Bohl 0 0-0 0, Brinkman 1 0-1 2, Peterson 2 1-7 5, S.Anderson 0 0-0 0, Bethke 0 0-0 0, E.Anderson 0 4-4 4, Meyer 4 5-5 15, Koop 1 0-0 2, Steen 3 0-0 6, Stovall 2 2-2 6. Totals 16 24-36 58.
Kenall 1 0-0 2, Hove 1 1-1 3, Hewitt 3 0-0 8, Melstrom 4 2-5 10, Foley 6 2-2 17, Blodgett 3 2-4 8. Totals 18 7-12 48.
New Richmond 9 15 18 16 58
Ellsworth 15 7 5 21 48
Three-point goals -- Meyer 2, Hewitt 2, Foley 3. Fouled out -- none. Total fouls -- Hewitt, Blodgett.