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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The Somerset girls basketball team fell one game short of its dream. The Spartans hoped to become the first Somerset girls basketball team in program history to reach the WIAA state tournament. That dream was shot down by Bloomer, which defeated Somerset 72-57 in the WIAA Division 3 sectional championship game at Menomonie High School on Saturday night. Somerset finishes the season with a 21-4 record. Two of those losses came against Bloomer.
The St. Croix Central boys basketball team has advanced into Saturday's WIAA Division 3 regional championship game. The Panthers, the fifth seed, defeated fourth-seeded Osceola 54-44 on Friday on the Chieftains' home court. Central will play at Prescott at 7 p.m. on Saturday. Prescott, the top seed in the regional bracket, defeated Barron 90-50 on Friday.
The game time for Somerset's girls basketball sectional championship game against Bloomer has been changed. The WIAA Division 3 sectional championship game will still be played at Menomonie High School on Saturday. The start time has been moved to 8 p.m. Somerset athletic director John Walsh said this change was made because the Bloomer boys basketball team will be playing a regional tournament game at 5 p.m.
The Somerset Spartans are one game away from the WIAA state girls basketball tournament. The Spartans advanced to the sectional championship game by defeating defending WIAA Division 3 state champion Hayward, 64-58, in Thursday's sectional semifinal played in New Richmond. Somerset will face Bloomer in the sectional title game. That game will be played on Saturday at 7 p.m. at Menomonie High School. Bloomer topped Elk Mound 54-49 in overtime in the other sectional semifinal game.
The Western Wisconsin Stars were knocked out of the WIAA playoffs, but it took the top-ranked team in the state to do it. The Stars lost to Hudson 7-2 in the WIAA sectional semifinals at Gornick Arena in Hudson last Tuesday. The Raiders were upset in the WIAA sectional championship game on Saturday, losing to second seeded Hayward, 5-4. The season ends with the Stars owning a 12-9-1 record. That’s a major improvement over the 6-13-2 record the team held the previous season.
Hopes were high for the New Richmond boys basketball team when the 2016-17 season began. Things haven’t gone quite the way the Tigers had planned. But last Monday, in their Middle Border Conference finale, the Tigers played the game fans had hoped to see from them all season. The Tigers dominated Amery from the start, then calmly withstood Amery’s best attempts at comeback to win 61-46. The win gives the Tigers a final 6-8 record in the MBC, leaving them in fifth place in the final standings.
There is reason for optimism as the New Richmond girls basketball team looks to the future. The Tigers saw their season come to an end last Tuesday when they lost in the opening round of the WIAA Division 2 regional tournament. They were defeated by the River Falls Wildcats, 35-28. The Tigers end with a 4-18 record. In many ways, this was a season of learning and growth for the Tigers. They were one of the youngest teams in the area. Mallory Kelly was the only senior on the Tiger roster.
The state’s top-ranked team put an abrupt end to the Somerset boys hockey season last Tuesday. Somerset played a scoreless first period with the top-ranked Hudson Raiders. But Hudson poured on the goals late in the game to apply a 10-0 beating to the Spartans in the WIAA sectional semifinals. Somerset finishes the season with a 17-9 record.
Perhaps the Somerset boys basketball team should petition for entry into the Heart O’North Conference. One night after suffering a crushing overtime loss against Baldwin-Woodville last Monday, the Spartans showed great resiliency, bouncing back to defeat Chetek-Weyerhaeuser 59-46. The Spartans ended their regular season last Thursday, losing their final home game of the season to Ellsworth, 74-60.
The yoyo-like season of the St. Croix Central boys basketball season produced most of its ups during the Panthers’ Middle Border Conference schedule. The Panthers finished tied for second place in the MBC with a 10-4 record. Overall, the Panthers ended the regular season with an 11-11 record.