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Tiger girls basketball provides entertaining Senior Night effort

New Richmond's Amy Kukacka (left) tries to drive past a Durand defender.

The rest of the New Richmond girls basketball team wanted to give their seniors a Senior Night to remember.

For a half, the Tigers battled basket-for-basket with Durand, one of the teams that would tie for third place in the Middle Border Conference. But in the second half the Tigers' shooting went cold and the Tigers took a 41-29 loss in their regular season finale last Thursday.

The Tigers ended the regular season with a 2-12 record in the MBC and a 3-19 overall mark.

The Tigers were scheduled to open WIAA Division 2 regional tournament action on Tuesday at Rice Lake. The winner of Tuesday's game will be in action again this Friday, making the trip to Ashland. The winner of Friday's game will advance to the Division 2 regional final, which will be played at 7 p.m. on Saturday in Superior.

Last Thursday the Tigers finished the season with a spirited effort, a fitting sendoff for the team's seniors, Laura Troftgruben and Meghan Frank. The Tigers trailed 27-23 at halftime, with the final play of the half being a play just between the seniors. Troftgruben grabbed a rebound under the Durand basket and started a fastbreak. She lofted a lead pass to Frank, who hit the layup just before the halftime buzzer sounded.

The Tiger offense that showed some real positives in the first half couldn't hit its shots in the second half. Junior center Amy Kukacka, who has shown real progress in her post moves late in the season, had four of the Tigers' six second half points. Kukacka and Troftgruben shared the team's scoring lead with six points each.

Defense kept the Tigers in striking reach in the second half. Durand scored 20 points in the first quarter, before the Tiger defense limited the Panthers to seven, nine and five points in the final three quarters.

Tiger coach Jeff Kanewischer said the girls viewed this game as a chance to do something special for their seniors.

"The girls have a great chemistry, they have a lot of fun together. Having a losing season and them still enjoying the season really speaks to their character," Kanewischer said.

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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