New Richmond girls basketball achingly close to wins
In both games last week, the New Richmond girls basketball team came achingly close to wins.
The Tigers lost at Osceola 39-36 last Tuesday. The Tigers held a one-point lead late in the game, then missed three attempts at three-point shots in the final seconds that would have sent the game into overtime.
Last Thursday's game against Prescott was nearly as close. It was a one-possession game with the Tigers trailing 58-55 in the final 30 seconds. Prescott hit a late free throw to make the final score 59-55.
The Tigers finish the regular season this week. They will finish the Middle Border Conference schedule Thursday, Feb. 15 with a game at St. Croix Central. The Tigers' final home game of the season will be played Saturday, Feb. 17 against River Falls.
The seeding for the WIAA Division 2 sectional tournament bracket was completed on Sunday. The Tigers received the ninth seed in the bracket. They will open tournament play on the road on Tuesday, Feb. 20, playing again at eighth-seeded River Falls. The winner of this game will play at top-seeded Onalaska on Friday, Feb. 23. The Tigers also played at River Falls in the playoffs a year ago, when the Tigers were the 11th seed and River Falls was the sixth seed.
The Tigers have a 3-17 record, but their penchant for giving every team a battle weighed in their favor in the seeding process. Against Prescott, the Tigers led 43-42 when Audrey Feuerer scored with 5:25 left in the game. Prescott then went on an 11-1 run, but the Tigers weren't finished. In the final minute, Zoey Christensen hit two free throws and Amanda Johnson scored off a stolen inbounds pass to cut the margin to 58-55.
New Richmond coach Ryan Schradle said with a team as young as the Tigers, these losses have to be part of a growth pattern.
"It's a game we should have won, but that's the experience you need to learn from," Schradle said.
The Tigers were further tested against Prescott because two of the team's more experienced players were sidelined with injuries.
Senior guard Lorin Bauer stepped up at the offensive end, leading the team with 16 points. Feuerer was a strong post presence, finishing with 14 points. Guard Maya Greenquist contributed eight points, seven rebounds and four assists.
Last Tuesday's game at Osceola was close the entire way. Feuerer led the way, leading the team with 14 points and nine rebounds.
"Audrey had a huge week. She's finishing very well," Schradle said.
These close games came against teams in the upper half of the conference standings. Schradle said the girls recognize how close they are to being at the same level as those teams.
"They understand we're right there. We've just got to find a way to win those games," he said.