Tigers shut down, shoot down MBC leaders, 58-52
The New Richmond girls pulled off the biggest regular season win in several years last Thursday, knocking off Middle Border Conference leader Osceola on the Chieftains' home court, 58-52.
This is Osceola's first conference loss of the season. The Tigers move into a tie for second place in the MBC with the win, improving their conference record to 6-3.
The Tigers won this game with the same formula that has made them the hottest team in the MBC over the past few weeks. They combined outstanding defense with unselfish team offense to knock off the conference leaders.
New Richmond's defense held Osceola leading scorer Ashlea Muckenhirn to nine points. New Richmond leading scorer Kelli Emerson was also held to nine points. But the rest of the Tigers outscored the rest of the Chieftains.
Tiger coach Eric Russell credited the defense of the Mitchell sisters, Jessica and Krista, who took turns guarding Muckenhirn, for holding her to nine points.
New Richmond senior center Laura Measner had her best offensive night of the season. She caught fire, hitting numerous mid-range shots to lead the Tigers with 18 points. Measner also led the Tigers with four steals. Her defense was a key in the second half. Osceola center Krista Hasselquist had scored 11 points in the first half, but Measner denied passes into the post in the second half, limiting Hasselquist to four points in the second half.
Senior super-sub Heather Thompson came off the bench to score 10 points for the Tigers, including sinking two huge three-pointers in the first half.
"It's different people at different times stepping up, that's what it takes," said Russell.
Russell said this performance wasn't a fluke by the Tigers. He said the team has raised its level of play to this point. He said the Tigers didn't play a perfect game at Osceola, saying they can still improve from this effort. The Tigers had 21 turnovers in the game, but their fierce defense also forced Osceola into 21 turnovers.
Osceola makes a living at outrebounding opponents. The Chieftains did have an edge in rebounding, but it was slight. The Tigers brought in 37 rebounds, led by nine from senior forward Nicole Borgen.
The game was close throughout. The Tigers trailed by two after a quarter, but led by one at halftime. The lead was two after three quarters and the Tigers built onto that lead in the fourth quarter.
The Tigers are now 6-1 in their last seven games. Russell said the success evolves from the attacking style of defense the girls have adopted.
"The girls have to believe in themselves now, there's no doubting. They've all stepped up. They realize this is their last hurrah and they're doing whatever it takes to get the job done," Russell said.
Taking care of business
Russell found comfort in the matter of fact way the Tigers controlled last Tuesday's 43-29 win over Christ Household of Faith.
It might not have been as flashy as the recent wins over River Falls and Prescott, but it was a straight-forward, business-like effort that led to this win. The Tigers took control of the game late in the first quarter and the lead was in double figures quickly. The lead was at the 16-18 point range for most of the second half.
"We did not bow to their level," Russell said. "We played pretty good defense, we took care of business."
One aspect where the Tigers stood out in this game was taking care of the ball. The Tigers only committed 10 turnovers in the game, one of the lower totals in recent years.
Emerson led a balanced scoring attack with 13 points. Brigette Spinks blocked three shots, Jessie Mitchell had three steals and three assists and Thompson led the team with six rebounds.
CHOF is a solid opponent, with a record above .500, including a win over Ellsworth.
The Tiger girls will be playing at home this Friday, against Baldwin-Woodville. The Tigers make the short road trip to Somerset next Tuesday to face the Spartans.
New Richmond 58, Osceola 52
NEW RICHMOND (58)
J.Mitchell 0 4-6 4, Emerson 3 2-4 9, K.Mitchell 1 0-0 2, Borgen 2 1-2 5, Measner 9 0-0 18, Thompson 4 0-1 10, Timm 1 2-2 4, Spinks 1 4-4 6. Totals 21 13-19 58.
Weber 3 0-0 6, Kumlien 3 0-0 6, Swanson 2 0-1 4, Lewis 1 0-0 2, Tarman 0 0-0 0, Schmidt 4 1-2 10, Muckenhirn 1 7-8 9, Hasselquist 6 3-4 15. Totals 20 11-15 52.
New Richmond 14 17 13 14 58
Osceola 16 14 12 10 52
Three-point goals -- Emerson, Thompson 2, Schmidt. Fouled out -- Swanson. Total fouls -- New Richmond 16, Osceola 17.
New Richmond 43,
Christ Household of Faith 29
K.Okerstrom 1 0-2 2, A.Okerstrom 2 0-0 5, Tschida 3 0-0 6, Sarbacker 6 0-0 12, Warneke 1 2-4 4.Totals 13 2-6 29.
NEW RICHMOND (43)
J.Mitchell 1 2-2 4, Emerson 6 0-2 13, Gjovik 0 0-0 0, K.Mitchell 1 0-0 2, Demullng 0 0-0 0, O'Flanagan 0 0-0 0, Borgen 3 0-0 6, Measner 3 0-0 6, Thompson 3 0-0 6, Timm 1 2-2 4, Spinks 1 0-0 2. Totals 20 4-6 43.
CHOF 9 5 3 12 29
New Richmond 14 10 8 11 43
Three-point goals -- A.Okerstrom, Emerson. Fouled out -- none. Total fouls -- CHOF 6, New Richmond 11.