New Richmond girls basketball loses defensive dogfight with DurandSaying the battle between the New Richmond and Durand girls was a defensive struggle might be one of the most blatant understatements of the basketball season.
By: Dave Newman, New Richmond News
Saying the battle between the New Richmond and Durand girls was a defensive struggle might be one of the most blatant understatements of the basketball season.
With a win, the Tiger girls could have moved into a share of the Middle Border Conference lead with Durand. The outcome was in doubt until the final minute, when Durand tacked on eight late points to pull away from the Tigers 30-18.
The first half of the game will rank as one of the all-time defensive struggles. At halftime the Tigers led, by the whopping score of 10-8.
Both coaches used halftime to try to find new ways to create more scoring. Tiger coach Jeff Kanewischer had his players setting screens to create more open shots for their teammates. The Tigers got more and better shots, but they couldn’t get the shots to fall.
Durand’s new tactic was more direct. They planted center Lexi Harmon on the low block and fed her the ball like a royal feast. The Tigers stopped some of those entry passes, but they couldn’t stop them all. Harmon scored eight straight points in the third quarter as Durand pulled ahead 18-13.
The Tigers gained back most of that margin in the fourth quarter, but couldn’t get back to even. Durand’s Michaela Danzinger went 6-6 from the free throw line in the final minute to end any Tiger hopes of a comeback.
Kanewischer said Durand’s size advantage was one of the main factors in the game.
“It was a physical game. There was a lot of contact being allowed,” he commented.
Kanewischer praised the Tigers’ man-to-man defense for limiting the conference leaders to 30 points.
“That’s our bread and butter, our defense,” he said.
With only 18 points, the Tigers didn’t have any individual score more than four points in the game. Seniors Amy Kukacka and Kat Keller led the team with four points apiece.
Both teams were deliberate on offense, but the Tigers still took good care of the ball. They had eight turnovers in the game, one of their lowest figures of the season.
The loss puts the Tigers into a tie with Somerset for second place in the MBC standings, two games behind Durand. The second place teams will meet this Friday, on the Tigers’ court. The Tigers will also be in action next Tuesday, in a non-conference game at Menomonie.