A week of turmoil for New Richmond boys basketball
A difficult week for the New Richmond boys basketball team began with a lineup alteration and resulted in losses to a pair of talented opponents.
The week started with a 75-40 loss at Chippewa Falls Tuesday, Jan. 23. On Thursday, the Tigers hosted Middle Border Conference-leading Prescott. The Tigers couldn't match Prescott's firepower, losing 69-43.
The loss to Prescott left the Tigers at 4-4 in the MBC. There are only six conference games remaining on the Tigers' schedule. That starts Tuesday at St. Croix Central. The Tigers will be at home on Friday against Amery, before playing at Baldwin-Woodville next Tuesday.
Last week started difficulty for the team, with senior Auggie Altena being dismissed from the team. Sophomore Jack Stuedemann was also ill and out of school all week, meaning the Tigers were without two of the nine players in their varsity rotation.
The changes led into a challenging assignment at Chippewa Falls, which is led by a 6-8 post player, Tyler Robarge. Through the first half, the Tigers were able to stay competitive, trailing 26-16 at halftime. Chippewa Falls (9-6) was coming off a three-game losing streak, but all against top-quality opponents.
In the second half, Chippewa Falls used pick-and-roll plays to pick apart the Tigers, scoring 49 points in the half. Robarge was the major beneficiary, hitting 10-15 shots to finish with 23 points.
"We just hit a buzzsaw, in Chippewa Falls with all of its size," said New Richmond coach Rick Montreal. "In the second half we lost our resolve a little."
Cole Effertz and Cooper Eral scored seven points to share the Tiger team lead. Joey Kidder had six rebounds to lead the team.
The goal after Tuesday's game was to move on as quickly as possible from the difficult start to the week, knowing Prescott awaited the Tigers two days later. Prescott's Peter Brookshaw is viewed by many as the best athlete in the conference and he leads a team filled with sharpshooters. Prescott hit 10 three-pointers, most of them in the first half. By halftime, Prescott's shooters had filled up the hoop for 42 points, building a 20-point lead over the Tigers.
The Tigers were able to slow the pace in the second half, which helped them play on a more even footing. The Tigers were able to establish some offense, getting points from the paint. Senior Blake Getschel was able to drive down the lane as the Tigers utilized a two-post offense with some success. Getschel finished with 10 points and Kidder scored 11 as the team's offensive leaders.
Several younger players got to see playing time for the Tigers at the end of the game as the coaches look for reinforcements. One who got his first varsity look was freshman Brady Lease. The coaches are looking for help at point guard, to free up Kidder for more time at the wing, and Lease could provide help there.
Montreal wanted the players to be able to move on from last week and remember the positives the team had the previous weeks.
"We've proven we're not far off from being pretty decent," Montreal said.