New Richmond girls knocked out of playoffs by MenomonieMenomonie’s Mustangs got their revenge against the New Richmond girls basketball team in the opening round of the WIAA Division 2 playoffs.
Menomonie’s Mustangs got their revenge against the New Richmond girls basketball team in the opening round of the WIAA Division 2 playoffs last Tuesday.
New Richmond beat Menomonie in overtime when the two teams met on Valentine’s Day. Last week’s playoff game also stretched into overtime, with Menomonie ending with the upper hand, 48-45.
New Richmond’s girls made a huge turnaround this season, capped by the program’s first Middle Border Conference championship since 1980. Last year the Tigers amassed a 3-20 record. This year the Tigers finished at 14-9. This is the first time the Tigers recorded double-digit wins since the Tigers finished 12-9 in the 2003-04 season.
The Tigers knew they’d be in for a tough battle with Menomonie. New Richmond was the seventh seed in the regional bracket and Menomonie was seeded eighth. When the two teams met in the regular season, the game was as physical as any the Tigers played this season.
The Tigers came out prepared for a similar battle, playing quite aggressively in the early stages of the game. New Richmond had an excellent start, with sophomore Sydney Kannel hitting three-pointers on the team’s first two possessions. The Tigers jumped out to a 14-5 lead and the Tigers led 14-10 after a quarter. Menomonie cut the margin to two points, at 16-14, but the Tigers finished the half with an inspired charge to lead 27-18 at halftime.
The Tigers stayed on the offensive early in the third quarter, expanding the lead to 11 points. After the third quarter the Tigers led 37-30.
Menomonie then began to find ways to stop the Tiger offense. The Tigers were limited to three points in the fourth quarter. Menomonie was able to send the game into overtime, 40-40.
Menomonie never led during regulation, but the Mustangs led through much of the overtime. The teams traded baskets in the opening seconds of the extra session. Once Menomonie got the lead, the Tigers were forced to foul. The Tigers did have a chance to send the game to a second overtime, but the halfcourt shot by senior Kat Keller bounced off the back iron.
Kannel had another outstanding offensive game, leading the Tigers with 20 points. Mattie Kidder and Kaycie Anderson each finished with six points.
Tiger coach Jeff Kanewischer said one of the team’s biggest problems Tuesday was preventing Menomonie from getting offensive rebounds. He said the Tigers’ defense performed quite well, but Menomonie was able to get too many points off second and third chances.
Kanewischer said the success the Tigers experienced this season stemmed from the work the team did last summer. The team had considerable success in its summer league. The team then set goals for the winter season, which included establishing strong leadership and winning the conference title. Kanewischer said the leadership piece made the championship possible, crediting the efforts of seniors Keller, Kukacka, Morgan Kelly and Alison Martin as being the type of leaders a championship team needs.
Kanewischer said the girls plan a similar approach to next season, beginning with working hard to improve their skills over the summer.