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Durand knocks New Richmond girls basketball out of MBC lead

Tiger sophomore Hannah Simpson (left) passes the ball to the perimeter after driving into the lane during Friday's game against Durand.

New Richmond's girls basketball team was knocked out of the Middle Border Conference lead when the Tigers were upended by Durand 39-33 on the Tigers' home court last Friday.

The Tigers have been an excellent first half team recently, but their offensive production has tailed off dramatically in the second half of those games. It finally came back to bite the Tigers on Friday.

New Richmond and Baldwin-Woodville started Friday's action tied for the MBC lead with 7-1 records. The Tigers appeared to be in good shape, leading 17-12 at halftime. Durand was playing without reigning MBC Most Valuable Player Lexi Harmon, who is sidelined with an injury. Without Harmon, Durand was playing a smaller, quicker lineup.

Durand was able to force the Tigers into some impatient mistakes in the second half. The Tigers also had trouble dealing with Durand's quickness at the other end of the court. Durand was able to get clear for a number of open looks from the perimeter, knocking down five three-pointers. Tiger coach Jeff Kanewischer said Durand scored just two points from in the paint.

Durand made its charge in the third quarter, outscoring the Tigers 15-4 to take a 27-21 lead. The Tigers did fight back, getting within one point in the fourth quarter at 39-33.

Kanewischer said there were several factors that figured into the Tigers' third quarter plummet. He said foul trouble, forced shots and passes, and a failure to close out on Durand's outside shooters combined to weigh the Tigers down.

"It was a lot of small things we could have, should have done," he said.

Neither team had anyone score in double figures. Mattie Kidder and Sydney Kannel scored nine points to lead the Tigers and Sarah Weber and Morganne Gruber notched nine for Durand.

The Tigers were able to score a 36-26 win at Ellsworth last Tuesday, but another subpar second half made this a much closer game than it should have been. The Tigers led 15-5 after the first quarter and 27-14 at halftime.

With the Tigers appearing ready to put the game away, the Tiger coaches used the second half to work on several areas that needed work. They spent much of the half playing man-to-man defense and working on different trapping schemes.

The offense was the concerning aspect for the Tigers, with their production dropping off to six points in the third quarter and three points in the fourth quarter.

"It was a self-inflicted second half," Kanewischer said, saying that his team had issues with its rebounding and weakside defense.

The trio of leading scorers for the Tigers accounted for nearly all the scoring at Ellsworth. Kannel led the Tigers with 16 points. Kidder and Hannah Simpson both finished with eight points. Two other Tigers contributed two points.

The Tigers return to their home court this Friday for a non-conference game against Menomonie. The Tigers get back to their MBC schedule next Tuesday, when they play at Somerset.