Tiger boys show they can compete with best in MBCIf there was any question about how well the New Richmond boys basketball team would compete in the Middle Border Conference this season, those questions were answered Friday night.
If there was any question about how well the New Richmond boys basketball team would compete in the Middle Border Conference this season, those questions were answered Friday night.
The Tigers played at Osceola on Friday, where the Chieftains were ranked as one of the pre-season favorites in the MBC. The Tigers played Osceola about as evenly as anyone could ask, with the game stretching into overtime. Osceola was able to get the early edge on the Tigers in the overtime, with the Chieftains finishing as 68-64 winners.
With this being just the second game of the season for the Tigers, the team is still in the discovery stage. Coach Rick Montreal is still sorting out a depth chart. He used 11 different players during the first quarter of Friday’s game, trying to sort out who should get more time later in the game.
What Montreal has found in the first two games, including the loss to Hudson, is the team isn’t where he expected it to be defensively.
“I don’t think scoring is our problem. We haven’t defended well enough in either game to win,” Montreal said.
Offensively the Tigers seem to have found two viable scoring options in seniors Lance Bauer and Derek Sabby. Bauer was outstanding in the second half, scoring 15 of his 17 points after halftime. Sabby was much more active around the basket than he was in the Hudson game. Sabby finished the night with 15 points and 15 rebounds.
“Derek rebounded well, that’s something he takes pride in,” Montreal said.
Several other Tigers showed offensive potential. Sophomore Darren O’Flanagan looked comfortable at the varsity level, scoring 10 points. Center Michael Jansen scored seven points, despite being in foul trouble. John Peper contributed seven points, five rebounds and four assists.
The two big areas of concern for Montreal in this game was ball security and transitioning to defense. The Tigers turned the ball over a number of times, many of them when players tried to thread passes into narrow openings.
Osceola has an exceptionally quick herd of guards and that quickness gave the Tigers problems. The Tigers were caught not getting back in transition quickly enough. The Chieftains also were effective in isolating their guards for dribble-drive opportunities.
“They’re one of the top three teams in the conference, I would guess,” Montreal said of Osceola. “We played pretty mediocre and nearly won on their court.”
The Tigers started well, leading 17-10 late in the first quarter. The Tiger offense lost its way in the second quarter and Osceola made its move, taking a 30-26 lead by halftime. The Chieftains went for the knockout right away in the third quarter, building the lead to 35-26.
Montreal then had the Tigers try full-court pressure. The press immediately produced results, with Sabby and Bauer each scoring after steals. The rest of the half was close, with neither team leading by more than four points.
The Tigers were able to send the game into overtime when Bauer scored on a drive to the hoop with 19 seconds left in regulation.
Jansen scored the first points of the overtime. Osceola scored the next five points as the Tigers looked a bit jittery under the pressure of an overtime situation.
The schedule contains two games for the Tigers in the upcoming days. On Friday the Tigers play a conference game at Somerset. Next Tuesday the Tigers will play a non-conference game, at home against Rice Lake.