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Tigers seeking redemption Friday at Amery

Tiger senior Connor McCann (44) hits a shot during the first half of Thursday’s game against Amery. (Photo by Dave Newman)

The New Richmond boys basketball team goes to Amery this Friday with some unfinished business in mind.

The Tigers hosted Amery last Thursday and for much of the game, the Tigers played outstanding defense, which kept them in the lead. But Amery’s Jordan Luehman took the game into his hands in the fourth quarter, scoring 12 of his 22 points as the Warriors rallied to sink the Tigers 49-47.

The loss drops the Tigers to 3-8 in Middle Border Conference games and to 4-14 overall.

For much of Thursday’s game, it looked like the Tigers’ defense was going to steer the team to a win. The Tigers held Amery to one field goal in the first quarter, building a 14-6 lead. There were times in the first half the Tigers appeared on the verge of putting the game out of reach, but couldn’t get enough shots to fall.

The Tigers carried a 23-17 lead at halftime and still looked in good shape as they headed into the fourth quarter with a 38-31 lead. Nothing has come easy for the Tigers this season and that was shown again in the fourth quarter. Luehman and the Warriors surged back, taking a 47-45 lead on Luehman’s reverse layup. The Tigers were able to tie the score on a pair of free throws by Caleb Manecke.

In the final moments, the Warriors went 1-2 in two trips to the free throw line. The Tigers set up a last second shot for guard Josh Geigle, but his shot glanced off the rim.

Tiger coach Rick Montreal credited his team for playing well defensively, but said the final result came down to offensive production.

“They hit more clutch shots than we did. Our last three or four possessions, we didn’t get the shots we wanted,” Montreal said.

The Tigers had a height edge against Amery and they were able to use it to some advantage. Noah Berger led the Tigers with 12 points and he and Manecke each hauled in nine rebounds. Manecke and Connor McCann each scored 11 points.

The Amery game was the third straight home contest for the Tigers. They had hoped to put together a home winning streak, but those hopes got trashed when Baldwin-Woodville visited the Tiger gym last Tuesday. The Tigers couldn’t cope with the Blackhawks’ quickness, resulting in a 65-39 Tiger loss.

B-W scored 20 points in the first quarter and by halftime the Blackhawks had rolled up a 35-21 lead.

“We can’t play from behind well because we haven’t been scoring very well,” Montreal said.

The Blackhawks outscored the Tigers 22-10 in the third quarter to snuff out any thoughts about a comeback.

Geigle led the Tigers with 11 points and his four rebounds, three assists and three steals were all the top marks for the Tigers.

Seeding for the WIAA boys basketball tournament brackets will be completed this weekend. For the Tigers, it’s more of a formality. Montreal said it is clear that the Tigers will be seeded fifth in the Division 2 regional bracket, likely to play at River Falls in the opening round of tournament action on Tuesday, Feb. 25.