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Spartans suffer first losses in Minn. tournament

The first losses of the season for the Somerset boys basketball team came last week when the Spartans played in a tournament in Minnesota.

The Spartans opened the Henry Sibley tournament last Wednesday playing the host school. The Spartans led for much of the game, but Sibley hit several three-pointers in the fourth quarter to pull ahead for a 67-59 win.

The next afternoon the Spartans played Simley. Again the Spartans led for much of the game. They reached the 30-point mark with five minutes left in the game and didn't score again, allowing Simley to come back for a 37-30 win.

Somerset was the smallest school in the tournament. Both Simley and Henry Sibley have enrollments in the area of 1,500 for 10-12 high schools.

The Spartans played both games without junior John Anderson, one of the team's two leading scorers. In the final 10 minutes of practice the day before the tournament, Anderson sprained his ankle. Spartan coach Eric Olson elected to hold Anderson out of both tournament games to make sure he would be healthy this week, when the Spartans resume their Middle Border Conference schedule.

The team also played the second game of the tournament without reserve guard Joel Webb. In the Sibley game, Webb was undercut on a shot and fell, landing on his head. He suffered a concussion. Like Anderson, Webb should be available for this week's games.

The game against Henry Sibley was a much better showing for the Spartans. Sibley has one of the best players in the Twin Cities area in 6-8 Trevor Mbakwe, who scored 19 points, including several slam dunks off of alley oop passes.

"He's the leading rebounder in the Metro, averaging 17 rebounds a game," Olson said about Mbakwe. "We did a nice job keeping him off the glass."

Stepping up to take the lead offensive role for the Spartans was junior Brett Schreiner. He matched Mbakwe's 19 points in the game.

"Brett played his best game so far," Olson said.

Somerset senior Mike Schachtner scored 16 points, all in the second half of the game. Webb scored 11 points before leaving the game with his injury.

The Spartans led 17-11 after a quarter and 29-28 at halftime. The Spartans trailed 40-38 after three quarters.

Olson said he thought Henry Sibley was an outstanding team that was strong enough that it would win the Big Rivers Conference this season. He wasn't as impressed with Simley, the team the Spartans lost to in the second round of the tournament.

Neither team could get its offense going in that game. Somerset led 8-6 after a quarter and 17-13 at halftime. Somerset maintained a thin lead until the Spartans stopped scoring midway through the fourth quarter.

Schreiner again led the Spartans in scoring, with 12 of the team's 30 points. No other Spartan scored more than six points. Schreiner also led the team with eight rebounds.

"The second game was miserable for fans, players, anybody in the area," Olson said. "It was an ugly game, not in terms of turnovers, but we couldn't get any open looks."

The Spartans are back in action this Friday, with a home game against Prescott. The Spartans play on the road next Tuesday, in a non-conference game at Barron.

Dave Newman
Dave Newman has been the sports editor at the New Richmond News since 1988. He has covered the action in the Middle Border Conference, Dunn-St. Croix Conference and Big Rivers Conference for nearly 30 years.
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