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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For the second straight season, the St. Croix Central girls basketball team bounced back from a season-opening loss to play extremely sharp ball. The Panthers registered three wins last week, including two against defending conference championship teams. The week started with the Panthers playing a formidable Elk Mound team, the defending Dunn-St. Croix Conference champion. The Panthers were sharp in all aspects of the game, resulting in a 55-48 Central victory.
The New Richmond and Somerset sports programs both had two-win nights on Thursday. The New Richmond boys basketball and wrestling teams both posted one-sided wins while Somerset saw wins from its wrestlers and boys hockey team. The New Richmond boys basketball team used deadly outside shooting to breeze past Osceola, 83-51. Talon Seckora led the Tigers with 21 points and Ryan Kling scored 19 points. They both hit five three-pointers.
Born into a softball loving family, Paige (Charland) Johnson is continuing the tradition. Johnson has been named as the new varsity softball coach at Somerset High School, after serving as a coach in the program the past three seasons.
The ups and downs of a young team were seen in the two performances by the Somerset girls basketball team last week. The Spartans went to Unity last Tuesday, Nov. 28 and knocked off a quality opponent, 64-61. On their home court last Thursday, the Spartans struggled with turnovers and fouls in a 57-44 loss to Barron. "We're going to be a Jekyll and Hyde team all year," Somerset coach Cory Lindenberg predicted. "The Unity game represents what we can be."
The Somerset boys basketball team played a stinker of a first half at St. Croix Falls Tuesday, Nov. 28, but the Spartans came out smelling like roses. After trailing 25-11 at halftime, the Spartans outscored the Saints 35-18 in the second half, carrying Somerset to a 46-43 victory. The win evens the Spartans' season record at 1-1. Junior Will Piletich was the catalyst in Somerset's tremendous comeback. He finished the night with 16 points, 14 of them coming in the second half.
Rebuilding a program doesn't get done in one year. The New Richmond wrestling team is in its second year of the rebuilding process. The Tigers went through an opening week that was quite challenging, facing Baldwin-Woodville in their opening dual on Thursday, Nov. 30 before wrestling in a tournament at Lakeville (Minn.) on Saturday, Dec. 2.
Don't make the mistake of judging the entire 2017-18 New Richmond girls basketball season by the Tigers' first game. The Tigers got a late start to the season and it showed in the first half of last Friday's game against St. Croix Central. The Tigers trailed 28-6 at halftime and lost to the Panthers, 54-23.
The pace of play will tell you there's a new attitude in the New Richmond boys basketball program this winter. After graduating eight seniors off last season's team, the Tigers will be extremely young this season. Though they will be young, they won't be timid. These Tigers plan to bare their teeth and play hungry.
Dual wins have been scarce for the Somerset wrestling program the past few years, so the four wins earned by the Spartans in the opening week of the 2017-18 season were something to celebrate. The Spartans opened the season by winning 45-24 in their Middle Border Conference dual meet opener at Osceola Thursday, Nov. 30. The Spartans then competed in the annual John Timm Duals tournament at Glenwood City, going 3-2 for the day on Saturday, Dec. 2. The win over Osceola showed how the Spartans are forming into a team, both as a lineup and as a close-knit group.
There are just five returning players who saw extensive varsity ice time last season, meaning the Somerset boys hockey team will be learning as it goes in the 2017-18 season.