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Tiger girls basketball needs offense, rebounding to match its defensive level

Whenever Amery's Kelly Stewart had the ball, she drew full attention of the Tiger defense. Here Stewart works the ball around the perimeter, with Morgan Kelly (12), Laura Troftgruben (14) and Allison Martin all giving their full attention to defending Stewart.

The defense played by the New Richmond girls basketball team is good enough to win nearly any game they play in the Middle Border Conference.

But those wins won't come until the Tigers are more productive on offense and rebound better than they did in a pair of losses last week.

The Tigers had chances to defeat Amery last Tuesday. The Tigers were burned by a steady stream of Amery offensive rebound baskets, which carried the Warriors to a 34-28 win over the Tigers.

The lack of height on the Tiger varsity roster doomed them when they played at Osceola last Friday. Tiger coach Jeff Kanewischer said the fact that Osceola starts three girls who stand six-feet tall or taller, while the Tigers have no six-footers, was the pivotal difference in Osceola's 59-26 win over the Tigers.

Osceola was led by a pair of its six-footers, Madison Johnson and Paige Garriga, who both scored 14 points in Friday's game.

Friday's game was one-sided from the start. Osceola took a 13-2 lead in the first quarter and the margin was 27-7 by halftime. Osceola's starters played well into the fourth quarter.

This was a difficult offensive night for the Tiger starting five. The three leading scorers for the Tigers were all reserves. Allison Martin led the team with seven points, Kaycie Anderson scored six points and Sydney Kannel scored four points.

Last Tuesday's game against Amery was an excellent test for the Tiger defense. Amery is led by senior Kelly Stewart, who is headed to the University of South Dakota on a basketball scholarship. The Tigers threw all of their defensive energy into stopping Stewart and initially, it worked.

Initially, as in Stewart's low percentage of shots made on her first attempt, that is. The Tigers could not prevent Stewart and other Warriors from getting offensive rebounds.

"Stewart's putbacks killed us," Kanewischer said.

Stewart scored all eight of Amery's points in the first quarter as the Warriors held an 8-5 lead. The Tigers limited Stewart to one point in the second quarter. Understandably, the Tigers soared ahead, leading 15-13 at halftime.

Stewart drained a three-pointer on Amery's first possession of the third quarter and the Tigers never got the lead back. Stewart scored 10 points in the third quarter as the Warriors took a 27-23 lead into the fourth quarter.

Neither offense could accomplish much in a chaotic fourth quarter.

"We've got to learn to play with a little more patience and poise," Kanewischer said.

Kat Keller led the Tigers with seven points before fouling out. Meghan Frank finished with six points.

Next up for the Tigers are a pair of home games. They will host conference-leading Somerset this Friday. The Tigers will play a non-conference game next Tuesday, when Rice Lake visits.

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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