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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Jean Johnson seems to devote every second of her free time to the students of St. Croix Central and the citizens of Hammond and Roberts. Johnson's devotion to her home area was recognized when she was presented with the District 1 Service Award by the Wisconsin Athletic Directors Association. The award was presented to Johnson by Central athletic director Jason Koele at Central's home wrestling match on Dec. 7. It was fitting that Johnson was honored at a Panther wrestling match because she's been a fixture with the Central wrestling program for years.
The team championship at the Trinity Invitational was a two-team battle, with New Richmond and Pine Island, Minn., separated by two points headed into the finals. The Tigers performed well in the finals, including winning three weight class titles, in earning the championship of Saturday's tournament at River Ridge (Minn.) High School. The Tigers won the 12-team tournament with 175 points. Pine Island ranked second with 163 points and Glenwood City was third with 124.5 points.
The value of defense was made clear to the St. Croix Central girls basketball team in a non-conference loss against Durand last Monday.
How's this for a unique win for the St. Croix Central wrestling team? The Panthers didn't score an individual win, but were still able to defeat Luck-Frederic-Grantsburg 36-34 in the final round of the Osceola Invitational on Saturday, Dec. 16.
There's a big difference between being in football shape and being in basketball shape. The St. Croix Central boys basketball players are experts on the subject. They've had to make a rapid transition from their fall sport to basketball, but by the end of last week, the Panthers were looking like they'd found their basketball legs.
The Western Wisconsin Stars were able to run up a big night of goal scoring on Saturday, defeating the Badger Lightning 13-1 at the Somerset Ice Arena. The Lightning only had girls for two lines, and one of their players went down with a shoulder injury in the first period. With four full lines, the Stars were fresh and sharp, with this being their only game of the week.
Defense. It has become the calling card of the Somerset boys basketball team and it was the key to the Spartans' first Middle Border Conference win of the season. The Spartans and Baldwin-Woodville waged a gritty battled that went down to the final buzzer. B-W tried a shot as the buzzer sounded, but it was off the mark. That allowed Somerset to record its first Middle Border Conference win of the season, 42-40. The win evens Somerset's overall record at 3-3.
The wins came with differing degrees of difficulty, but the New Richmond boys basketball and boys hockey both scored wins over Menomonie on Tuesday. The Tiger boys basketball team battled right to the end with the Mustangs. The game was tied 46-46, but the Tigers scored the next five points to ensure a 52-48 win. Joey Kidder led the Tigers with 17 points and Talon Seckora finished with 15 points. The Tiger hockey team had no trouble on Tuesday. The Tigers earned a 10-0 win at Menomonie.
The intensity of a high-pressure game is something that can't be replicated in practice. The New Richmond girls basketball team got a double-dose of high-intensity games last week. The Tigers used an amazing comeback in the final minutes, scoring the final 12 points of the game, to win at Ellsworth last Tuesday, 66-63. The Tigers ran into another kind of intensity against La Crosse Central on Saturday, losing 64-50.
Good starts need to be followed through by the New Richmond boys basketball teams. The inability to complete games after good starts against Prescott and St. Croix Central last week is likely a reflection of the disparity in varsity experience between the Tigers and last week's opponents. The Tigers were a dynamic team through the first 10 minutes of last Tuesday's game at Prescott, leading the Middle Border Conference leaders 21-17. Prescott then kicked up its high-powered attack and the Tigers got swept away in the waves, losing 89-63.