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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It took a substantial comeback, but the Somerset boys basketball team was able to earn its second win of the season in the opening round of the Glenwood City holiday tournament last Thursday. The Spartans faced a double-digit deficit late in the first half, but played much more sharply in the second half to overtake Glenwood City, 49-45. The Spartans ran up against a sharp young Clear Lake team in the second round of the tournament on Friday, losing 67-22.
Overcoming a 17-point deficit enabled the Somerset girls basketball team to win one of its tough games against challenging opponents over the holiday week. The Spartans rallied from a 24-7 deficit in the first half to win at Rice Lake last Tuesday, 52-50. Two nights later the Spartans played at unbeaten Bloomer. This was renewal of a rivalry that dates back to fourth grade. Bloomer hit several free throws in the final seconds to push this tight game to a 56-46 final margin.
In five of the 11 games this season, the Somerset boys hockey team has surrendered five or more goals. Four of those five games resulted in the team’s losses as the Spartans end the 2016 portion of their schedule with a 7-4 record. The Spartans lost two of their three games last week, giving up 15 goals over the three games. The week started with a 6-0 loss at Onalaska last Tuesday. On Wednesday, the Spartans faced West Salem in a tournament at Menomonie. It didn’t go well for the Spartans, who came away on the losing end of an 8-2 decision.
The New Richmond girls basketball team faced two high-powered offenses last week and the Tigers weren’t successful in slowing down either attack. The Tigers lost to Dunn-St. Croix Conference leader Durand 73-40 last Wednesday. The Tigers were home on Friday against Rice Lake, one of the tallest teams in the western side of the state. Rice Lake was seemingly able to score at will over the Tigers, winning 58-28. It was a disjointed holiday break for the Tigers with different girls gone for parts of the week, cutting into the team’s on-court consistency.
The Western Wisconsin Stars ran up against two of the deepest girls hockey programs in Minnesota in the opening rounds of a tournament in Burnsville last week. The Stars lost to Burnsville 6-2 on Wednesday and Apple Valley 7-0 on Thursday. The Stars were able to put a positive finish on the tournament, putting together a sterling performance to defeat Faribault, 5-2.
The St. Croix Central boys knew they’d be up against tough competition when they went to the La Crosse Aquinas basketball tournament last Wednesday and Thursday. And while the Panthers lost both games, they showed definite progress against two quality opponents. The Panthers led for much of the first half against undefeated and state-ranked Appleton Xavier last Wednesday before losing, 90-75. The Panthers had their chances against Aquinas on Thursday, losing 58-53.
The New Richmond boys hockey team won a showdown with Baldwin-Woodville for the Middle Border Conference lead on Tuesday, while the Tiger boys basketball team also scored a win over B-W on Tuesday. Baldwin-Woodville's hockey team came into Tuesday's game with an undefeated record but that didn't impress the Tigers. New Richmond dominated all aspects of the game in defeating the Blackhawks 5-0. Nick Johnson scored three of the Tiger goals, with Chris Lubow and Blake Kretovics also scoring. The Tigers outshot the Blackhawks, 48-13.
The top and bottom teams from the Big Rivers Conference were the opposition for the New Richmond boys hockey team last week. The Tigers found out they currently rank somewhere between the two. Last Tuesday, the Tigers faced a struggling Menomonie team that ranks at the bottom of the BRC. The Tigers put on an offensive show, blitzing the Mustangs 11-1. Two nights later, the Tigers were hosting Hudson, the top-ranked team in the state. The Tigers found they aren’t yet ready to be ranked at Hudson’s level, losing to the Raiders, 5-0.
The last game where Pete Melloy coached the New Richmond boys soccer team was at the destination he worked toward reaching 12 years with the program: the WIAA State Championships.
For Todd Nelson, it’s a chance to be close to home. After 17 years of coaching Division 1 college volleyball all over the midwest, Nelson has taken a coaching position that will put him within an hour of New Richmond, his home town. Nelson was hired last week as the head coach of the St. Catherine University volleyball program in St. Paul.