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Tigers nipped in final seconds by Osceola

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A wild finish was capped by Osceola's Ross Benitz, whose driving layup with seven seconds left was the winning points as Osceola edged New Richmond 54-53 last Thursday.

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New Richmond's Tyler Brennan was fouled with 3.5 seconds remaining, but missed the front end of the bonus situation. Osceola rebounded the miss and was fouled, also missing the free throw, but the Tigers couldn't get a good shot off in the final moments.

This puts Osceola and New Richmond into a tie for fourth place in the Middle Border Conference standings, with both teams carrying 4-4 MBC records.

That the Tigers were able to lead at all in this game was an accomplishment after another miserable start. The Tigers fell behind 17-4 before scoring the final six points of the quarter to trail 17-10 entering the second quarter.

"We need to go out and play a quarter in the parking lot before we start," said Tiger coach John Elkin, who is trying to find a solution for the Tigers' recent rash of slow starts.

The Tigers couldn't make much headway in the second quarter either, trailing 29-23 at halftime.

It was during the third quarter that the Tigers caught fire. The Tigers started the third quarter with a 17-5 run that put them ahead 40-34. At the end of the quarter New Richmond's lead stood at 41-38.

Both teams held the lead several times during the fourth quarter, and the lead changed hands over and over in the final minutes. Garret Fletch and Pete Elkin each went 2-2 from the free throw line in the final minutes for the Tigers.

Tom Atterholt led the Tigers with 14 points and Brennan scored 13, seven of those coming during the Tigers' comeback in the third quarter. Fletch scored 10 points and Lee Stovall eight points.

One thing that made Osceola difficult to defend against was the Chieftains' variety in scoring. Dave Hogen scored eight points in the first quarter for the Chieftains, then three more the rest of the night. Dave Schwab was the hot shooter in the second quarter. In the fourth quarter it was Benitz, who scored eight of his 11 points in the final quarter.

Elkin said he was surprised that the Tigers didn't do a better job of help defense against Benitz. Most of Benitz's points came on drives down the lane where the Tiger help defense failed to cut off his drive to the hoop.

A big part of the Tigers' comeback in the third quarter was due to their improved full-court pressure. The pressure forced several turnovers and produced some fastbreak shots that got the offense rolling.

"When we're not making shots we can't put on the full-court pressure and that's our bread and butter," said coach Elkin.

Brock Peterson led the Tigers with six assists in the game and he and Fletch each stole the ball three times. Pete Elkin led the team with seven rebounds and Stovall and Brennan each pulled in six rebounds.

The Tigers face one of their most challenging stretches of the season this week, with three games in five days, including two games against conference leaders. On Friday the Tigers play at Baldwin-Woodville. It will be a short night for the Tigers, because they pile on a bus early Saturday for a 2:30 p.m. game at Duluth Denfeld.

Next Tuesday the Tigers return to conference action, with a home-court clash with Somerset.

Osceola 54, New Richmond 53

OSCEOLA (54)

(FG-FT-FTA-PTS)

Hogen 5 1-3 11, Benitz 4 2-4 11, Schwab 4 2-2 10, Steffen 2 0-0 5, Hinz 1 0-0 3, Battern 2 0-1 4, Rogney 2 3-3 7, Carlson 0 3-4 3. Totals 20 11-17 54.

NEW RICHMOND (53)

Fletch 4 2-2 10, Peterson 0 0-0 0, Slocum 0 0-0 0, Elkin 1 4-6 6, Brennan 6 0-3 13, Atterholt 5 2-3 14, Steen 1 0-0 2, Stovall 3 2-2 8. Totals 20 10-16 53.

Osceola 17 12 9 16 54

New Richmond 10 15 18 12 53

Three-point goals -- Benitz, Steffen, Hinz, Brennan, Atterholt 2. Fouled out -- none. Total fouls -- Osceola 12, New Richmond 14.

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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.
(715) 243-7767 x242
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