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This week will decide everything for Spartans

This is the week the Somerset girls basketball team has been building toward all season.

Not only will this week likely decide whether the Spartans will be Middle Border Conference champions, it will also decide where the Spartans will be seeding in a brutally strong WIAA Division 2 regional tournament bracket.

This week began with Somerset and Durand tied for the Middle Border Conference lead, with Amery one game behind the MBC co-leaders.

The Spartans were scheduled to host Osceola on Tuesday. On Thursday, the Spartans will get a visit from the Amery girls. The Spartans beat Osceola by one point the first time the two teams met. Amery is one of the two teams that have beaten Somerset in conference play this season.

Spartan point guard Kellie Ring was playing on a bad ankle in the first game against Amery and only scored two points. Ring is back at full strength now, as anyone who was at last Friday's game at Ellsworth will attest. Ring scored 26 points on Friday in leading the Spartans to a 76-48 win over the Warriors. Ring shot six times in the first half at Ellsworth and all six went in as she rolled up 15 points in the half.

"Offensively it's probably the best game she's ever played," Somerset coach Bill Powers said of Ring's performance at Ellsworth.

Ring and Spartan center Kayla Solum have become one of the most reliable scoring tandems in the conference. Solum contributed 18 points at Ellsworth.

"You can almost count on those two for 40 points a game," Powers said.

The Spartans were a bit shaky in the opening minutes at Ellsworth, falling behind 7-2. The coaches then switched from a zone coverage to a full-court man defensive scheme. The Spartans immediately went on a 14-1 run and stayed sharp the rest of the game.

One of the most encouraging parts of the Spartans' recent games is their passing on offense. The Spartans have been extremely unselfish, and the result is the team is getting almost every shot from a high-percentage spot on the court. It is also resulting in good scoring balance. Every Spartan who suited up for Friday's game got into the scoring column.

Ring and Ali Marson led the team with five assists and Alicia Potting had four assists in the game. Ashley Martell led the team with four steals.

These games will have a large bearing on the WIAA seeding because there are four teams that are battling for the top seed in the region. At the start of the week, Somerset and Hayward each had two losses, Northwestern had three losses and Amery had four losses.

"All four coaches probably think their team is number one," Powers said.

None of those four coaches want the three or four seed either. That's because New Richmond and Osceola will likely be the five and six seeds in the region and both of those teams have shown they are capable of upsetting any of the top seeds on the right night.

The seeding will be decided over the weekend. The Spartans will be in action next Monday, playing in a non-conference game at Boyceville.

Somerset 76, Ellsworth 48



Potting 1 1-2 4, Karli Solum 1 0-0 2, Marson 1 0-0 2, Baillargeon 1 0-0 2, Ring 10 3-3 26, Wells 2 1-2 5, Steinlicht 1 1-1 3, Krohn 2 1-1 6, Martell 2 1-2 8, Kayla Solum 7 4-6 18. Totals 29 12-18 76.


Place 0 0-0 0, Huggett 4 2-3 13, Kannel 0 0-3 0, Campbell 4 0-0 10, Raehsler 0 2-2 2, Huppert 4 0-2 8, Reeder 0 4-4 4, Olson 5 1-2 11. Totals 17 9-16 48.

Somerset 16 18 18 24 76

Ellsworth 8 12 15 13 48

Three-point goals -- Potting, Ring 3, Martell, Krohn, Huggett 3, Campbell 2. Fouled out -- none. Total fouls -- Somerset 18, Ellsworth 17.

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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