Tigers start the Elkin era
The John Elkin era began for the New Richmond boys basketball program officially when the Tigers played at River Falls last Tuesday.
The Tigers were beaten in their 2003-04 season opener at River Falls, 63-33.
The team brings back a limited amount of experience from last season. Senior Scott Meyer was a full-time starting guard last season. Dan Bethke and Jeff Engel also saw time in the starting lineup last season. Erik Anderson and Garret Fletch also saw time on the varsity last season.
Elkin is a former Tiger assistant coach, serving as an assistant under Al Waschke for eight seasons. This is Elkin's first opportunity to be a varsity head coach. He was a player on New Richmond's 1973 state tournament team and an assistant coach on New Richmond's team that advanced to state in 1997.
Elkin said he is looking for leadership from the six seniors on this year's team: Meyer, Bethke, Engel, Anderson, Jeff Koop and Charlie Bohl.
"The seniors have worked hard, they've led by example," Elkin said. "I'm really impressed with the attitude they've taken."
Joining the seniors on the roster are juniors Fletch, Tyler Brennan, Lee Stovall, Zach Brinkman and Shawn Anderson. Sophomore Kyle Steen and freshman Brock Peterson round out the varsity lineup.
Elkin said the coaching staff is using every practice to analyze the team's talent. He said he expects there to be changes in how much playing time each player receives in games. That will be based on what the player has done in practice and games the previous week, but also on the opponents the Tigers are facing. The Tigers will have one of the smallest teams in the Middle Border Conference, so Elkin will be adjusting the lineup based on the height and physical makeup of the opposing team.
Elkin has the Tigers running the swing offense almost exclusively this season. He is emphasizing patience on offense, looking for the team to work the ball into the post whenever possible. Elkin said the team panicked a bit after River Falls hit some shots in Tuesday's game. Instead of trying to work for a good shot, the Tigers hastily tried to get down the court and match the River Falls' score, only to put up a lower-percentage shot.
The Tigers will be playing man-to-man defense. Elkin said the Tigers didn't play badly in their half-court defense at River Falls, but they gave up too many points in the transition game.
River Falls got up early on the Tigers, taking a 12-5 first quarter lead. The Tigers struggled to find their own tempo in the game, but Elkin said he expects the offense to continue developing as the season progresses.
Meyer and Brennan led the Tigers with eight points each in the game. Engel led the Tigers with five rebounds and he and Meyer each stole the ball four times to lead the team in that area.
The Tigers have two road stops as their next games on the schedule. This Friday the Tigers will be playing at Prescott. That will be followed by a game next Monday at Rice Lake.
River Falls 63, New Richmond 33
NEW RICHMOND (33)
Fletch 0 0-0 0, Bohl 0 0-0 0, Bethke 2 1-2 5, Engel 0 0-0 0, E.Anderson 0 0-0 0, Stovall 1 2-4 4, Steen 1 3-4 5, Meyer 4 0-0 8, Koop 0 0-0 0, S.Anderson 0 0-0 0, Brennan 2 4-4 8, Peterson 1 0-0 3, Brinkman 0 0-0 0. Totals 11 10-14 33.
RIVER FALLS (63)
Obermueller 3 0-0 8, Szatkowski 2 0-1 4, Elling 5 3-4 16, Hanson 2 0-0 4, Giebel 4 1-1 9, Jenkins 4 1-1 9, Voeltz 5 1-2 11, Gilbertson 0 0-1 0, Moe 1 0-2 2. Totals 26 6-12 63.
New Richmond 5 9 10 9 33
River Falls 12 14 23 14 63
Three-point goals -- Peterson, Obermueller 2, Elling 3. Fouled out -- none. Total fouls -- New Richmond 15, River Falls 14.