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Somerset girls basketball gets turned back in right direction

The detour away from their usual winning ways appears to be over for the Somerset girls basketball team.

The Spartans got turned back in the right direction last Thursday, earning a 41-30 win over Ellsworth. The win keeps the Spartans in a tie for third place in the Middle Border Conference standings. They are tied with Prescott, which pulled off a major surprise, beating MBC leader Durand on Thursday, 35-34.

This Friday the Spartans will get their shot at the MBC leader. Somerset completes its regular season with a home game against Durand on Friday.

The WIAA seeding meeting will be held this weekend. The Spartans could still end up in the upper half of the Division 3 sectional bracket despite their 7-13 record. The Spartans will be one of the most difficult teams to place in the seeding, because their difficult schedule included several opponents from the Twin Cities area that none of the other teams in the sectional have competed against.

Somerset coach Kendrick Livers said he believes the Spartans are moving back in the right direction, based upon what he witnessed in the win over Ellsworth. The Spartans had lost their three previous games. Against Ellsworth, the coaches had the team concentrate on playing to its strengths.

"Teamwork was there," Livers said. "We played a complete game, as a team."

The Spartans looked to establish their leading scorers against Ellsworth and all three of them ended up scoring in double digits. The trio of seniors was led by Bridget Kieckhoefer with 13 points. Paige Wagner contributed 12 points and Ellie Vanasse finished with 10 points. That mix, with Wagner working from the perimeter, Kieckhoefer from mid-range and Vanasse from the low post, can make the Spartans difficult to defend when all three are evenly productive.

While Ellsworth is occupying the basement in the conference standings, Livers said he knew the Panthers would provide Somerset with a good challenge. Ellsworth upset Prescott in its previous game and the Panthers' play, especially defensively, showed a definite spark.

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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