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New Richmond girls basketball gets rare win at Durand; Kannel scores 37

New Richmond junior guard Sydney Kannel put together one of the biggest offensive nights in Tiger history at Durand last Friday, scoring 37 points.

One of the rarest accomplishments that can be achieved in Middle Border Conference girls basketball is winning at Durand.

New Richmond's girls were able to pull off that feat last Friday and it took a rare performance to do it. Tiger junior Sydney Kannel scored 37 points in leading the Tigers to a 54-45 win.

The win was New Richmond's first at Durand in the seven seasons Jeff Kanewischer has been coaching the team. The 37 points by Kannel is also the largest individual point total in Kanewischer's tenure. For her efforts, Kannel was nominated for the state Player of the Week award.

Kanewischer said Kannel's point production was the product of several factors. One of the main factors was Durand's defensive approach toward Kannel. Durand overplayed her in full-court pressure and the Tigers were able to get the ball to her on long lead passes, resulting in numerous fastbreak layups.

The Tigers also scored at will on inbounds plays. Kanewischer said the Tigers excelled at setting screens which produced open looks for Kannel on inbounds plays and she was able to knock down most of those shots.

Kannel also excelled at the free throw line, hitting seven of eight attempts. She went 6-6 at the line in the fourth quarter when Durand was forced to foul.

Kanewischer said the large point total could mean Kannel will start seeing extra defensive pressure from opponents. He said the rest of the girls will need to step up their production if this happens.

This was the Tigers' second game of the season and Kanewischer said he expects the rest of the team will increase its scoring shortly. He said the team is still working on learning the offensive formations and the coaches are still deciding how to divvy up the playing time amongst the girls.

The Tigers faced their second difficult opponent in two nights when they hosted Rice Lake on Saturday. The two teams battled evenly for three quarters, but Rice Lake had more energy left for the final quarter, pulling away for a 55-41 win. The Tigers trailed 37-36 entering the fourth quarter.

Rice Lake, one of the top teams in the Big Rivers Conference, had better scoring balance in Saturday's game. Rice Lake standout guard Jenna Orr scored 21 points, but the Warriors also got 13 points from post player Josie Buckley. Kannel led New Richmond with 19 points and Hannah Simpson scored eight points.

This was a game of streaks, with Rice Lake building several leads and the Tigers making a series of comebacks. That started from the opening minutes, when Rice Lake bolted to a 13-3 lead. The Tigers gradually came back, trailing 17-10 at the end of the first quarter.

The Tigers went on a run of their own in the second quarter, scoring 11 straight points to tie the game at 21-21. The teams stayed close through the rest of the half, with the Warriors leading 27-25 at the break.

In the third quarter the Tigers surged ahead for their only lead of the game at 35-33. The game was close through the middle of the fourth quarter. Rice Lake then scored the final 11 points of the game.

This weekend the Tigers play another back-to-back series of games. The Tigers will play a Middle Border Conference game at Baldwin-Woodville. That will be followed by a non-conference game at Chippewa Falls on Saturday. The next home game for the Tigers will be played Tuesday, when Somerset's girls will visit.

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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