Amery also eliminates New Richmond girlsNew Richmond’s girls thought they had an effective plan to compete with Amery in the Division 2 basketball regional tournament opening round game last Tuesday.
By: Dave Newman, New Richmond News
New Richmond’s girls thought they had an effective plan to compete with Amery in the Division 2 basketball regional tournament opening round game last Tuesday.
But when the Tigers didn’t score in the first nine minutes of the game, spotting Amery a 17-point lead, that plan went out the window. The Tigers kept trying to battle back, but were only once able to get Amery’s lead down to single figures. The game was competitive, until Amery scored the final 11 points of the night to inflate the final margin to 59-36.
The Tigers finish the season with a 7-14 record. That’s a considerable improvement over the team’s 2-19 record in the 2006-07 season.
Entering Tuesday’s game, the Tigers thought they had a workable plan to compete with Amery. The Tigers played a physical defense against MBC leading scorer Taylor Luke, holding her to four points in the first half. The Tigers also started the game in an offense that was producing short-range shots.
Then the cracks in the plan started to develop. The Tigers were getting good shots, but most of their first quarter shots weren’t close to going in.
The cracks also showed in the defensive end of the court. While the Tigers were doing their best to muffle Luke, Luke was able to find Kelly Stewart left alone on the perimeter. Stewart hit five three-pointers in the game and finished with a game-high 19 points.
Another problem that opened up for the Tigers was weakside rebounding. While the Tigers made Amery put up difficult shots, the Warriors scored off numerous easy putbacks off uncontested weakside offensive rebounds.
The 17-0 start was finally ended when senior guard Alexis Taubman scored on a drive to the basket a minute into the second quarter. That was the start of an 8-0 run that pumped some life back into the Tigers’ play.
Taubman led the second quarter effort, scoring six points and passing for two assists.
“Lexi has to be the best surprise of the year,” Tiger coach Jeff Kanewischer said of Taubman. “She has to be the most improved player on our team.”
Amery then rallied on Stewart’s outside shooting to rebuild its lead to 31-16 by halftime.
In the second half the Tigers continued to play aggressively on defense, but their offense continued to struggle. The best source of offense in the second half was the outside shooting of senior guard Paige Spaulding, who hit three three-point shots in the second half.
Kanewischer said Maggie Demulling, Ashley Stoffel and Spaulding led the Tigers’ defensive effort in the game.
The Tigers graduate a large group of seniors, including Demulling, Stoffel, Spaulding, Taubman, Kassie Kunz, Hannah Bygd, Sarah Munson and Libby Jensen.
“A lot of the seniors pour their blood, sweat and tears into the program,” Kanewischer said. “They were committed to the team philosophy. I’ll miss those seniors.”
Five players who saw varsity time are expected to form the nucleus for the team next season. Hayley Peterson, McKenzie Kelly, Kendra Mitchell, Jordan Van Dyk and Laura Troftgruben are being viewed as the players the Tigers will build their varsity team around next season.