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Good start and finish enough to get Tiger boys basketball a win

New Richmond's Darren O'Flanagan (20) and Cody Taubman (5) try to trap a Menomonie player.

Frame that first quarter, it's a keeper.

And the poise shown in the last minute, that's worth remembering.

What happened in between the first quarter and the final minute was largely forgettable for the New Richmond boys basketball team in their home non-conference game against Menomonie on Saturday.

The sharp start and poised finish were enough to get the Tigers a 53-49 win over winless Menomonie on Saturday.

With the win the Tigers stand at 3-3 for the season.

After a 10-day span between games, the Tigers were chomping at the bit to play on Saturday. They outscored Menomonie 17-3 in the first quarter. Tiger coach Rick Montreal said he was excited about the energy and focus the team brought into the game.

"On a Saturday afternoon on Christmas break, that's a tribute to their mental preparation," he said.

Montreal wasn't frustrated that Menomonie was able to come back in the game, but he was disturbed to see the Tigers' energy level drop off after the first quarter. More disturbing was that the dropoff in intensity was most noticeable in the defensive end of the court. The Tigers pride themselves on defense and giving up 49 points to a winless team is not up to the team's normal standards.

Offensively, there were signs of progress for the Tigers. Post players Michael Jansen and Jared Kidder combined for 28 points and 15 rebounds.

"Michael was demanding the ball in the post. When he's got someone smaller against him, that's what we want to see," Montreal said.

The bench gave some inspired play too. Sophomore Dalton Sabby played his best varsity game thus far. He contributed eight points, three assists and a high energy level. Kyle Miller came in to lead the Tigers with four assists.

One aspect that saved the Tigers was turnovers. They turned the ball over nine times in the first half, mostly in the second quarter. They were able to limit themselves to four turnovers in the second half. The team finished with 15 assists. Finishing with more assists than turnovers is a goal for every game for the Tigers.

This Friday the Tigers will be in action, playing at Prescott. January is largely a road trip for the Tigers. This week they had road games at Baldwin and Prescott. They host Ellsworth on Jan. 15 before playing at Amery and Osceola the following week.

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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