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New Richmond girls basketball suffers first loss in clash of MBC leaders

The intensity of Friday’s game shows in this photo where New Richmond’s Hannah Swetlik, Maddie Kelly and Hannah Simpson battle a Baldwin-Woodville player for a rebound.

The strong start of the New Richmond girls basketball team came to a stop last week when the Tigers faced talented opponents from Rice Lake and Baldwin-Woodville.

The Tigers led late into the fourth quarter and Rice Lake last Tuesday, but they couldn’t hang onto the lead, falling to the Warriors 55-49.

On Friday, the Tigers hosted Baldwin-Woodville in a clash of the teams that have won the past two Middle Border Conference championships, B-W in 2013 and the Tigers in 2012. The first period was played cautiously, but Baldwin-Woodville got into an offensive rhythm the Tigers couldn’t break in the second half, beating the Tigers 42-32.

New Richmond coach Jeff Kanewischer said he wanted to play the first half in a deliberate pace. He said Baldwin-Woodville has such strong depth that if the Blackhawks were allowed to run at a fast pace for the entire game, the Tigers might not have the energy to stay with them.

Saying the first half was played at a deliberate pace might be kind. It took more than five minutes for the first points of the game to be scored. At the end of the first quarter the Blackhawks led 6-2. The halftime score stood at 10-9 in the Blackhawks’ favor.

When the pace picked up in the third quarter, the Blackhawks quickly found a rhythm that the Tigers couldn’t match. The Hawks were successful in isolating Maddie Kulow for clear shots. She knocked down four three-pointers in the second half, finishing with a game-high 19 points.

B-W also picked up numerous points in transition in the second half. Alyssa Nilssen had 10 of her 12 points in the second half, nearly all coming at the end of Blackhawk transition plays. The Hawks outscored the Tigers 17-9 in the third quarter and maintained an 8-10 point lead through the fourth quarter.

Sydney Kannel led the Tigers with 10 points on Friday, but the Blackhawks did their best to keep Kannel’s shots to the perimeter. Mattie Kidder scored seven points, with Maddie Kelly and Hannah Simpson finishing with five points.

The Tigers and Rice Lake battled evenly throughout most of last Tuesday’s game. The score was tied 24-24 at halftime and it remained close until the final seconds. The Tigers held a one-point lead until Rice Lake’s Josie Buckley got free for an open look for a three-pointer. Her shot gave the Warriors the lead and they never let it go.

Kidder led the Tigers with 15 points. She had a strong finish to keep the Tigers in contention, scoring eight points in the fourth quarter. Kelly scored a season high 12 points and Kannel finished with eight points.

The Tigers have made a tradition of playing in a tournament at Thorp over the holiday break. That will continue this Friday and Saturday.  The Tigers will face Abbotsford at 2 p.m. on Friday in the opening round of the tournament. They will play either Somerset or Thorp on Saturday.

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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