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Clutch free throw shooting gets New Richmond girls an overtime playoff win

Clutch free throw shooting got the New Richmond girls basketball team into overtime in their WIAA Division 2 regional playoff game at River Falls on Tuesday night.

The Tigers produced more deadly free throw shooting in the final minute of the overtime to hold off a scrappy Wildcat team, 36-33.

With the win the Tigers advance to Friday's regional semifinals. The Tigers will play at 7 p.m. at Onalaska, the top seed in the sectional bracket. The winner of Friday's game will play again on Saturday in the regional championship game.

In Division 3 action on Tuesday, the St. Croix Central girls nearly pulled off an upset, losing at Spooner 29-27. Somerset was the 20th victim of the St. Croix Falls girls this season, losing 70-37.

New Richmond's girls struggled all through Tuesday's game to get scoring out of their set offense. The Tigers trailed 14-10 at halftime.

The Tigers upped the intensity of their full-court pressure in the second half and it paid huge dividends. The Tigers scored the first 10 points of the third quarter. The Wildcats didn't score until 10 seconds were left in the quarter, when Lexi Knotek nailed a three-pointer to cut the Tigers' lead to 20-17.

Regulation came down to the final seconds. New Richmond junior Mattie Kidder was fouled with one second left on the clock. She sank both free throws, tying the score at 25-25 and sending the game into overtime.

The Tigers took the lead for good in the opening moments of the overtime on hoops by Maddie Kelly and Sydney Kannel. River Falls stayed close, with Knotek scoring eight points in the overtime.

In the final minute, the Tigers went 6-6 from the free throw line to maintain their lead, Kannel hit the first two free throws and junior Hannah Simpson sank the final four.

Simpson led the Tigers with 15 points, Kannel scored eight points and Maddie Kelly finished with seven points.