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New Richmond girls basketball team upsets 17-4 Barron

Tiger sophomore Kennedy Kling (left) tries to drive to the basket in a recent game against Somerset.

The New Richmond girls basketball team gave its confidence level a healthy boost Monday night.

The Tigers knocked off Barron, the defending Division 3 sectional champion, 37-31 on the Tigers' home court on Monday.

The win raises the Tigers' season record to 13-8. Barron came into the game with a 17-4 record.

The Tigers didn't overwhelm Barron. It was a game of persistence, with the Tigers overcoming a 10-point halftime deficit to overtake the Bears.

"Barron was as good as advertised," said Tiger coach Jeff Kanewischer, who saw his team fall behind 14-4 in the first quarter. Barron's lead stayed at the 10-12 point range through the second quarter.

Barron couldn't match the Tigers' depth and the Tigers began to wear down the Bears in the second half. With a highly effective full-court press, the Tigers were able to whittle Barron's lead down to three points by the end of the third quarter. The Tigers outscored Barron 13-4 in the fourth quarter.

"We knew we had to keep grinding," Kanewischer said. "Depth was a big factor."

Sophomore Hannah Simpson led the Tigers with 15 points, with most of her points coming off strong moves to the basket. Mattie Kidder scored 13 points, including nine in the third quarter. Kidder's work at the front of the Tiger press led to several Barron turnovers in the second half.

This win is critical as the Tigers gear up for the WIAA Division 1 playoffs. The Tigers drew the ninth seed in the sectional pairing bracket. That means they'll begin tournament play on the road, playing at eighth seed River Falls next Tuesday. The Tigers complete their regular season schedule this Thursday, with their Senior Night celebration before their home game against Osceola.

The Tigers improved to 10-3 in the MBC last Thursday with a 43-30 win at Prescott. The Tigers were able to dictate the action in this game with their defense. The Tigers took the lead early in the game and maintained it throughout the night.

Prescott scored 11 points in the first quarter. After that the Tigers put more pressure on Prescott's guards, denying entry passes into the post.

Kidder and junior guard Sydney Kannel shared the team lead with 13 points at Prescott. The rest of the team's scoring was well distributed among six other players.