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Somerset girls beaten in final seconds by Amery

Somerset freshman Avery Gunther (left) tries to clear space so she can get a shot away in a recent Spartan game.

It might have been a painful loss, but in the process, the Somerset girls basketball team is learning it can compete with the upper echelon teams in the Middle Border Conference.

The Spartans went to Amery last Tuesday and led for much of the game against the Warriors. Amery had a player hit three three-pointers in the final minutes of the game, and that burst of scoring carried Amery to a 47-45 win over the Spartans.

Somerset played well in the second half of the game. The game was tied 21-21 at halftime, but by the midpoint of the fourth quarter the Spartans had built a seven-point lead. That’s when Amery’s Nicole Young began to turn the game around. Young hit three treys, the final with 20 seconds left to play, giving Amery the 47-45 lead. Those were Young’s only points of the game.

Somerset hurried the ball upcourt and Avery Gunther was able to get a shot away just before the buzzer, but the shot rolled off the rim.

Amery started the game with a flurry, leading 16-12 after the first quarter. The Warriors rank fourth in the MBC with a 4-3 record, while the loss drops the Spartans to 1-5.

Somerset has become more competitive with each passing week and this game showed that improvement is ongoing. Spartan coach Kendrick Livers said his team, which consists completely of sophomores and freshmen, is adjusting to the more physical style at the varsity level.

Freshmen Tori Martell and Abbie Rivard led the Spartans, with Martell scoring 18 points and Rivard 14 points.

Freshman Haley Bassett made her first career start at Amery, replacing sophomore McKenzie Erickson, who was ill. Bassett is maturing rapidly as a point guard, which fits Somerset’s long-range plans well. With Bassett able to handle the ball-handling role, it frees Martell and Rivard to concentrate more on scoring.

“Haley did a good job running our team and getting our offense set up,” Livers said.

Livers said one of the best indications of the team’s progress was its play in the final minutes, when they kept battling against a more experienced opponent.

“The girls didn’t waver,” Livers said.

The Spartans will try to add to their win total this Friday when they play at Osceola, which is winless this season. The Spartans have a non-conference game scheduled for next Monday, when they host Spooner. Osceola and Spooner are both in Somerset’s WIAA Division 3 tournament bracket, so wins in those games could earn the Spartans a home game in the opening round of the regional tournament games.

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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