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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Ellsworth received five forfeits from New Richmond’s wrestlers in the Middle Border Conference dual match held on the Tigers’ mat last Thursday. That’s significant because the 30 points from the forfeits were the margin that Ellsworth won by on Thursday in the 51-21 final. Of the nine varsity matches that took place, New Richmond won five of them. The Tigers were missing a handful of wrestlers from the lineup due to injuries and illness.
The New Richmond boys basketball team knew what was coming. That didn’t mean the Tigers could stop it from happening. The Tigers knew they’d face a Chippewa Falls team that plays at a crazed pace in Saturday’s game. The Tigers gave the ball away more than 30 times and allowed 13 three-pointers as they got blitzed by the Cardinals, 91-57. The Tiger coaching staff had thoroughly scouted Chippewa Falls to prepare for the Cards’ scrambling style.
The strong start of the New Richmond girls basketball team came to a stop last week when the Tigers faced talented opponents from Rice Lake and Baldwin-Woodville. The Tigers led late into the fourth quarter and Rice Lake last Tuesday, but they couldn’t hang onto the lead, falling to the Warriors 55-49. On Friday, the Tigers hosted Baldwin-Woodville in a clash of the teams that have won the past two Middle Border Conference championships, B-W in 2013 and the Tigers in 2012.
The hard work finally paid off for the St. Croix Central boys basketball team. The Panthers are able to cherish their first win over the holiday break after winning at Boyceville, 56-52, last Friday. For the Panthers, the intermittent progress shown by the team finally paid off after losing their first six games of the season. The Panthers have had some gems and some clunkers among those losses.
This will be one of the most festive holiday breaks in years for the St. Croix Central girls basketball team. After starting the season 0-3, the Panthers roared back to win their final three games in December. That included a convincing 51-28 win at Osceola last Tuesday and a hard-fought 58-45 homecourt win over Spring Valley last Thursday. Last Tuesday’s win was the first against Osceola in the five years that Luke Fritsche has been coaching the team. The Panthers won the game with a gem of a defensive effort, limiting the Chieftains to nine points in the first half.
Traveling across the state to compete at Tomahawk proved beneficial for the Somerset wrestling team on Saturday. The Tomahawk Invitational was structured with varsity and JV levels of the tournament. The Spartan coaches decided to have their five most experienced wrestlers compete in the varsity tournament and the seven less experienced wrestlers be part of the JV field. The decision produced excellent results. The Spartans only lost five matches all day and every Somerset wrestler earned at least one victory.
The first test for the Somerset boys basketball team in the Middle Border Conference title chase didn’t go as planned. The Spartans went to Prescott last Friday in a clash of two of the teams expected to be top competitors for the 2013-14 MBC title. The Spartans couldn’t match the firepower of the prolific Cardinals, losing 57-45. Somerset got 19 points from senior guard Jack Emmert, but only two other Spartans scored more than three points.
The Dec. 14 loss to New Richmond could be the turning point for the Somerset hockey team’s season. That loss was at least partially the result of undisciplined penalties taken by the Spartans. The loss caused Somerset coach Dan Gilkerson to add an extra consequence when the Spartans took undisciplined or retaliatory penalties. That consequence was missing an extra 10 minutes of game time. That action caused several Spartans to miss extra time in last Tuesday’s 6-3 loss to Eau Claire Regis. But the message may have gotten across.
Every game is a learning experience when you’re starting four freshmen and a sophomore. The Somerset girls basketball team put itself in a position for a win on Friday against Prescott, building a nine-point lead by halftime. A tough lesson came for the Spartans in the second half. Prescott upped the pressure and the Spartans didn’t react well. Their lead vanished quickly. Prescott was able to maintain a slim lead through the fourth quarter, winning 42-35. Spartan coach Kendrick Livers said the team didn’t look young in the first half.
Though the day started with two losses, the St. Croix Central wrestling team finished Saturday’s Osceola Invitational with a successful flurry of wins. The Panthers opened the tournament by losing to talented teams from River Falls and Cumberland. The Panthers then got on a roll, scoring wins over Clear Lake, Barron and Osceola. A number of the Panthers had excellent days in the tournament. Freshman Cole Refsnider went through the tournament without a defeat, winning four matches and receiving one forfeit. “He was a nice surprise,” said Central coach Brad Holzer.