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 local football programs will be well represented at the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association All-Star Games this July. New Richmond and St. Croix Central will both have two players on the field that day and both programs will have coaches involved in the day full of football. The three all-star games will be played on Saturday, July 21, at Titan Stadium, home of the UW-Oshkosh football team.
The St. Croix Central boys basketball team knows what it will take to be a success in the WIAA playoffs. On successive nights last week, the Panthers played two of the best teams in the area. This showed the Panthers where the bar is set in terms of quality of opponents. And to advance in the playoffs teams will have to play on back-to-back nights, so this experience could be highly beneficial for the Panthers.
Thursday was a busy night for area sports, with the WIAA hockey regional finals being played, along with the final round of Middle Border Conference girls basketball games being played. In boys hockey, the New Richmond Tigers advanced to the sectional semifinals with an 8-1 home ice win over Menomonie. New Richmond, the third seed in the sectional semifinals, which will be played at number two seed Superior next Tuesday. Superior advanced to the sectional level with a 6-1 win over River Falls on Thursday.
Early in the second half last Thursday, the Somerset boys basketball team led Ellsworth, 33-31. Things then went from working extremely well for the Spartans to working extremely badly. Ellsworth clamped on a half-court trap defense that forced turnovers and fastbreak baskets in five straight Spartan possessions. Somerset never recovered, losing to Ellsworth 79-62.
In terms of playoff seeding position, last Friday's game at Baldwin-Woodville was a must win for the Somerset girls basketball team.
The inconsistency of the New Richmond boys basketball team has been perplexing for the team's players, coaches and fans. And it could be costly in the WIAA Division 2 tournament seeding, which will be completed this weekend.
Facing a WIAA playoff game at Hayward this Thursday, the Western Wisconsin Stars had no interest in showing the Hurricanes anything they could use when the two teams met in the regular season finale at Hayward on Saturday, Feb. 10. While the Stars were playing a vanilla-style attack, Hayward was on the attack, sticking with its top two lines through a 6-0 Hurricane victory.
Advancing nine wrestlers through to this Saturday's sectional tournament was just about the ideal outcome for the New Richmond wrestling team from last Saturday's WIAA Division 1 regional tournament, hosted by the Tigers. Getting nine wrestlers through to sectionals is an accomplishment, but it guarantees nothing for the Tigers in the highly talented Division 1 sectional tournament they'll be competing in Saturday. Feb. 17 at Wausau West High School.
In both games last week, the New Richmond girls basketball team came achingly close to wins. The Tigers lost at Osceola 39-36 last Tuesday. The Tigers held a one-point lead late in the game, then missed three attempts at three-point shots in the final seconds that would have sent the game into overtime. Last Thursday's game against Prescott was nearly as close. It was a one-possession game with the Tigers trailing 58-55 in the final 30 seconds. Prescott hit a late free throw to make the final score 59-55.
The Hodag is a mythical creature. But there was an intensity that was very real in the play of the New Richmond boys hockey team that brought the Hodag trophy back to New Richmond for the second straight year. The Tiger boys played their final tuneup before the WIAA playoffs in the Hodag tournament at Wisconsin Rapids over the weekend. The Tigers won both their games in the tournament for a final regular season record of 17-5-1.