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Tiger girls basketball starts with win for first time since 2001

Tiger guard Laura Troftgruben (14) looks to make a pass into the post against Spooner.

Winning the season opener isn't something the New Richmond girls basketball team has done since the 2001 season.

So when the Tigers rolled to a 39-20 win over Spooner in the 2009-10 opener last Tuesday, it gave the Tigers reason to think that brighter days are ahead.

The Tigers are coming off a three-win season. In the win over Spooner, the Tigers showed they have the capabilities of being a well-balanced team.

Defense and rebounding were the main planks in the Tigers' theme on Tuesday. Spooner was limited to eight points in the first half. The pace of the game picked up in the second half, but the Tigers still held Spooner to 12 points in the half.

The offense for the Tigers was spotty, with their best work coming during the third quarter. The Tigers outscored Spooner 19-10 in the third quarter. That was led by senior forward Kendra Mitchell, who scored 10 of her game-high 16 points in the third quarter.

There are more offensive options on the team. Seniors Jordan Van Dyk and Kim Bethke each scored seven points. Junior point guard Laura Troftgruben added five points.

Bethke and Mitchell give the Tigers a pair of post players who can score in the low post. Van Dyk is the team's perimeter shooter. Troftgruben is an excellent ball handler at point guard. In the second half against Spooner she began driving to the basket and it produced good results.

The fifth starter is junior Meghan Frank.

"She's kind of my hybrid," said Tiger coach Jeff Kanewischer. "She can play post or wing."

The Tigers are young. The varsity bench consists of three sophomores and a freshman. The Tiger junior varsity team, which includes four freshmen, also won against Spooner.

Barron on Monday

The Tigers put together another strong defensive effort on Monday, but the team's offensive production was sporadic in a 37-30 loss at Barron.

Barron is traditionally a potent team that has won at least 16 games each of the past three seasons.

The Tigers trailed 18-16 at halftime, then scored five points early in the third quarter. The offense then went cold and didn't score for the rest of the quarter. That allowed Barron to build a 28-21 lead. The Tigers fought back, but gave up three offensive rebound hoops in the fourth quarter that allowed Barron to maintain a lead.

Van Dyk and Bethke led the Tigers with eight points each. Bethke and Frank were the team's top rebounders.

The Tigers now have an eight-day break before playing at home next Tuesday against Christ Household of Faith.

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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