Scorers change, Tigers defense remains constantThe sources of points continue to change for the New Richmond boys basketball team, but the defense remains a constant for the Tigers. As in constantly tough.
By: Dave Newman, New Richmond News
The sources of points continue to change for the New Richmond boys basketball team, but the defense remains a constant for the Tigers.
As in constantly tough.
The Tigers scored a pair of Middle Border Conference wins last week, with the defense giving both opponents major problems.
Last Tuesday the Tigers scored a 64-48 win at Ellsworth. That was followed by a 54-49 homecourt win over Amery on Thursday.
The game at Ellsworth was the first in two weeks for the Tigers.
“I told them we can’t wait four minutes to shake off the rust and the best way to do that is with defense,” said Tiger coach Rick Montreal.
The Tigers responded, limiting a high-scoring Ellsworth team to eight points in each of the first two quarters. By halftime the Tigers had built a 10-point lead.
If there was any doubt who would win, the Tigers answered those questions by outscoring the Panthers 22-15 in the third quarter.
The scoring sources have varied from game-to-game for the Tigers. Forward Michael Jansen got the team rolling at Ellsworth with six points in the first quarter. Sophomore guard Darren O’Flanagan closed the deal. He scored eight points in the third quarter and finished with a team-high 14 points.
“Darren’s starting to figure out he’s very difficult to cover when he attacks the rim,” Montreal said. “He’s a really solid finisher from 10 feet and in.”
Leading the defensive effort in both games for the Tigers was senior John Peper. He was given the task of guarding Ellsworth’s leading scorer, Drew Hipple. Peper limited him to seven points. The Tigers also shut down another of Ellsworth’s main weapons, Nick Niedfeldt, to three points.
Peper may have played his best game of the season against Amery. After struggling with his confidence on offense, Peper is finding that part of his game again. Against Amery he contributed nine points and seven assists. Peper was also assigned to guard Amery’s Erik Loverude, one of the most accurate three-point shooters in the conference. Peper contained him, holding Loverude to six points.
Amery plays a very methodical style, which gave the Tigers some troubles. The Tigers led 27-21 at halftime. Amery then surged back, tying the game at 36-36 late in the third quarter. The Tigers got the last points of the quarter to take a 38-36 lead into the fourth. That’s when the Tiger defense took charge. The Tigers had pulled well ahead. Amery hit two three-pointers in the final 15 seconds of the game to trim the final margin down to 55-49.
While there have been different major contributors on offense in every game, one player has been undeniably steady. Senior Derek Sabby scored 11 points against Ellsworth and 14 points against Amery. He was also the team’s leading rebounder in both games.
O’Flanagan had another productive game against Amery, finishing with 12 points. Lance Bauer added eight points.
The Tigers couldn’t ask for a tougher test, with back-to-back games this Friday and Saturday.
On Friday the top two teams in the Middle Border will clash, with Osceola coming to New Richmond. Osceola stands at 6-0 in the MBC starting this week, with New Richmond at 5-1.
The Tigers will be back on their home court on 2 p.m. Saturday, facing another ominous opponent. This time it will be Eau Claire North from the Big Rivers Conference. There is another non-conference game on the schedule for the Tigers next Tuesday, when they play at Spooner.