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First win eludes St. Croix Central boys basketball team

Central guard D.J. Holland (3) looks at his passing options during a recent Panther game.

Despite playing one of the most successful defensive halves imaginable, the St. Croix Central boys basketball team couldn’t finish off a win at Plum City last Friday.

The Panthers held Plum City scoreless through the first quarter and without a field goal in the first half. The Panthers led 14-4 at halftime, but their turnovers in the second half left the door open for a Plum City comeback. The Blue Devils tied the score by the end of the third quarter and finished with a 32-29 win over the Panthers.

The loss drops the Panthers to 0-3 for the season. The Panthers have non-conference games scheduled on back-to-back nights this week, both against Middle Border Conference teams. The Panthers will host Osceola on Thursday, before playing at Somerset on Friday to make up a previous postponement. Next Tuesday the Panthers return to Dunn-St. Croix Conference action with a home game against Colfax.

The Panthers also lost to Elk Mound last week. The two losses showed the Panthers are strong at one end of the court, but still struggling at the other. Central coach Zach Turpin said the team’s half-court defense was excellent in both games. But turnovers riddle the Panthers when they have the ball. Turpin said, until that issue is resolved, the Panthers will continue to face full-court pressure from opponents.

The turnovers are a projection of the Panthers’ lack of confidence with the ball, according to Turpin.

“We lost our composure,” he said about the lead slipping away at Plum City. “We’ve got to have some confidence in ourselves.”

Central had two players score more than three points at Plum City. Jason Matteson finished with 12 points and John Spaeth made his biggest offensive contribution, adding seven points.

The 50-13 loss at Elk Mound was an offensive nightmare for the Panthers. The Panthers missed some close-range shots in the opening minutes and the confidence in their shooting eroded quickly from there.

Matteson, Cody Weismann and Josh Albright led the Panthers in scoring with three points each. Weismann provided the closest thing to an offensive highlight, sinking a three-point shot from halfcourt at the game’s final buzzer.

Dave Newman
Dave Newman has been the sports editor at the New Richmond News since 1988. He has covered the action in the Middle Border Conference, Dunn-St. Croix Conference and Big Rivers Conference for nearly 30 years.
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