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Somerset girls basketball experiences two close games

Somerset coach Kendrick Livers is pointing the way for the young Spartan team that is showing progress with every game.

Getting the experience of handling the pressure of playing in close games was the benefit that came out of Somerset’s visit to the Thorp holiday girls basketball tournament last Friday and Saturday.

The Spartans (1-6) lost close games to Thorp and Abbotsford in the tournament. With the lack of varsity experience the Spartans possess, learning how to handle the rigors of pressure situations is another step the team needs to learn how to take.

In the opening day of the tournament, the Spartans lost to Thorp 53-45. The Spartans didn’t start well in this game, falling behind by 13 points. The competitive nature of the Spartans showed through as they battled back to take the lead in the game.

Fouls then became a problem for the Spartans. They were called for 10 straight fouls during one stretch of the second half, with nearly all of Thorp’s fourth quarter points coming from the free throw line.

Somerset coach Kendrick Livers said this game pointed out the flaws, and also the positives, of having such a young team. He said the team’s inexperience showed at times. He said the team gets in stretches where it tends to rely on Tori Martell for all its scoring. He said that may have worked in youth basketball, but it won’t at the varsity level.

Livers did rave about the eagerness the girls have to learn the more advanced parts of the game.

“They’re not scared of hard work,” Livers said. “Each game they’re getting better and better.”

Martell scored 20 points to lead the Spartans against Thorp, with McKenzie Erickson and Sam Flandrick each scoring six points.

Getting more balanced scoring was one of the emphasized areas when the Spartans faced Abbotsford in the tournament’s third place game on Saturday.

The Spartans lost the game 42-37, but the game was close throughout, giving the team another chance to learn how to handle the pressures of a close finish. The scoring balance was achieved, with every girl in the Spartan lineup scoring. Martell led the team with 13 points and Flandrick scored 10 points. Katelyn Strumke was able to score seven points as the team tried to get her more involved in the offense.

Livers said one area where the team sometimes gets overmatched because of its youth is physical strength. He said the team is working to improve their strength, lifting weights twice a week. Many of the girls were involved in the middle school conditioning program.

The Spartans return to action this Friday when they play at Boyceville. They return to their Middle Border Conference schedule next Tuesday, when they host New Richmond.

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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