Tiger boys basketball avoids surprisesTwo of the bottom teams in the Middle Border Conference hoped to spring surprises on the New Richmond boys basketball team.
By: Dave Newman, New Richmond News
Two of the bottom teams in the Middle Border Conference hoped to spring surprises on the New Richmond boys basketball team.
The Tigers didn’t let that happen. They scored a 51-34 win at Durand last Tuesday, which was followed by a 63-43 home-court win over Somerset last Friday.
The wins raise the Tigers’ record to 8-0 in conference play and they began the week with a 14-0 overall record.
While Durand and Somerset are both 1-7 in conference games, it wasn’t hard for Tiger coach Rick Montreal to motivate the boys for Tuesday’s game at Durand. The Tigers lost at Durand last season and the boys were reminded of that fact several times leading into Tuesday’s game.
“Playing at Durand has been a historical mental roadblock,” Montreal said. “I told the kids I’m sick of hearing that’s a bad place for us to play.”
It didn’t take the Tigers long to prove that Durand wasn’t going to be a roadblock this year. Seniors Riley Kannel, Justice Harvieux and Darren O’Flanagan did all the team’s scoring in the first half as the Tigers built up a 30-14 lead by halftime.
Knowing that Durand’s only chance of a comeback was a hot start to the second half, the Tigers went to full-court pressure to start the third quarter. That slowed Durand’s offense to a crawl and the Tigers were able to win comfortably.
Kannel led the Tigers with 17 points, 15 of them coming in the first half. Harvieux had one of his best offensive games of the season, finishing with 12 points. He also led the team with seven rebounds. Each of the other four starters collected four rebounds.
Friday’s game against Somerset was the start of the second half of the MBC schedule for the Tigers. They’d already beaten Somerset 45-27 in December. This game matched the most experienced starting lineup in the conference against Somerset, which likely has the least experienced lineup.
“It was men versus boys,” Somerset coach Brent Larson said.
The Tigers used quick ball movement and decisive drives to the basket to generate good shots early in their possessions. The Tigers had one of their best offensive first halves of the season, scoring 19 points in each quarter to lead 38-18 by halftime.
Somerset shoots a higher percentage of three-point shots than another other team in the conference. Montreal had the Tigers extending their defense in preparation for those shots. Somerset still managed to hit seven three-pointers in the game, but the Tigers limited Somerset to just five two-point field goals.
Kannel led a balanced Tiger offense with 14 points. O’Flanagan finished with 13 points and Cody Taubman scored 10 points. O’Flanagan led the team with seven rebounds and three assists and Taubman totalled six rebounds. Kannel’s four steals were tops on the team.
The Tigers will face one of their toughest tests of the season this Thursday when they play at Baldwin-Woodville. The Blackhawks are expected to have senior center Jake Keefer back in the lineup for Thursday’s game after recent knee surgery.
The Tigers will get another challenging test next Tuesday when they play at Prescott, which is currently tied with B-W for second place in the MBC standings.