Somerset girls basketball knocks off Durand, 33-30Ever since the Somerset girls basketball team lost to Durand in the first round of Middle Border Conference play, the Spartans were targeting last Friday’s rematch with the Panthers.
By: Dave Newman, New Richmond News
Ever since the Somerset girls basketball team lost to Durand in the first round of Middle Border Conference play, the Spartans were targeting last Friday’s rematch with the Panthers.
Somerset was hoping Friday’s game would give them a chance to compete for the MBC title, but a recent swoon took them out of competition for a conference title. The Spartans still had a major impact on the final conference championship outcome. The Spartans knocked off Durand 33-30 on Friday, making it possible for New Richmond to win a share of the 2011-12 conference title. With the win, the Spartans finished tied for third place in the MBC final standings with an 8-6 record.
Durand plays its final conference game this Thursday. The Panthers must win at Osceola on Thursday to tie New Richmond for the conference championship.
Somerset’s girls don’t have any games scheduled this week. They will use the week to prepare for the WIAA Division 3 tournament series. The WIAA seeding was held on Saturday, with the Spartans drawing the fifth seed in the sectional tournament bracket. That means the Spartans will play at home next Tuesday against Cumberland, the 12th seed. Cumberland has an 0-20 record heading into this week’s games.
The winner of Tuesday’s game will be back in action on Friday, March 9, playing at Chetek-Weyerhaueser, which is the fourth seed. Chetek-Weyerhaeuser began the week with a 7-11 record. Somerset’s record is currently 8-14.
Somerset won Friday’s game with defense. Durand has two good post players in Lexi Harmon and Vanessa Hinrichs and a strong perimeter shooter in Lindsay Komro. The Spartans targeted those three players with all their defensive force and it clearly caused the Panthers to struggle.
One of the keys for Somerset defensively is its depth in the post. Ellie Vanasse, Bridget Kieckhoefer, Carley Seibel and Sarah Krig are all skilled post defenders. There were times when the Spartans had all four of their post players on the court. The height and wingspan of those four post players made it nearly impossible for Durand to get the ball into its post players.
“It’s no secret that we’re a zone (defense) team,” said Somerset coach Kendrick Livers. “We really concentrated on doubling down on Harmon every time she touched the ball.”
Livers said the girls also communicated very well, which is essential for a zone defense to perform at a peak level.
The offense was played at a rapid pace, with the Spartans holding a 15-13 lead at the break. In the second quarter the Spartan defense began having a stronger effect. Somerset held Durand to four points in the second quarter, building a 22-17 halftime lead.
Durand showed it can play some defense too, cutting the lead to 25-24. Two free throws from Krig and a hoop by Vanasse got the lead back to 29-24 by the start of the fourth quarter.
The Spartans were on the verge of pulling away in the fourth quarter, but a pair of ill-advised three-point shots kept giving Durand the ball. The Panthers got two free throws from Hinrichs to cut the margin to 33-30 with 1:06 left in the game.
The Spartans had to come out with one more defensive stand. Durand was able to get away two-three point attempts in the final seconds, but the hurried shots were off the mark.
Kieckhoefer led the Spartans with 11 points in the win and Vanasse finished with eight points.
The win over Durand came three nights after the Spartans suffered an agonizing 49-43 loss at Amery.
Livers said it was a game the Spartans had every opportunity to win.
“Honestly, we beat ourselves by missing 17 free throws and eight layups,” Livers said.
Senior Paige Wagner led the team with 12 points. Kieckhoefer finished with 11 points and Vanasse with 10 points.