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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St. Croix Central had four wrestlers reach the finals in Saturday's Big Rivers Conference/Dunn-St. Croix Conference Classic on Saturday, but none of the Panthers were able to win weight class championships. The Panthers like this tournament because of the rigid competition they face. In the final round of the tournament the Panthers faced off against some of the best wrestlers in the area. The performance of the Panthers in the tournament is best reflected in the all-conference honors the Panthers earned on Saturday.
The New Richmond boys basketball team was looking to start a new winning streak when they played at Prescott on Tuesday night. The Tigers accomplished that goal, pulling away in the second half to beat the Cardinals, 70-56. At halftime the Tigers led 33-32. They outscored the Cards 18-8 in the third quarter to take charge. The Tigers are now 15-1 this season. Riley Kannel paced the Tigers with 17 points. Cody Taubman scored 15 points, including nine in the second quarter.
New Richmond's Joe Neumann and Somerset's Gabe Flandrick and Haydon Dvorak all earned individual championships in the 2011 Middle Border Conference Wrestling Tournament, held Saturday at Ellsworth High School. Ellsworth won the team championship with 278.5 points. Amery was second with 207.5 points, followed by New Richmond with 157 and Somerset with 117.5. Neumann was the prohibitive favorite to win the 285-pound class and he didn't disappointed. Neither of his matches reached the second period.
Playoff hockey started early for the New Richmond boys this year. With the New Richmond and River Falls boys battling for the second seed in the WIAA sectional tournament bracket, Monday's game at the New Richmond Sports Center had all the excitement and intensity you could want from a tournament game. The game was deadlocked at 2-2 at the end of regulation. New Richmond junior Maxwell Skatrud banged home the game-winner at the 2:38 mark into overtime, giving the Tigers their eighth straight win. This was a noteworthy week for the Tigers.
Two of the bottom teams in the Middle Border Conference hoped to spring surprises on the New Richmond boys basketball team. The Tigers didn't let that happen. They scored a 51-34 win at Durand last Tuesday, which was followed by a 63-43 home-court win over Somerset last Friday. The wins raise the Tigers' record to 8-0 in conference play and they began the week with a 14-0 overall record. While Durand and Somerset are both 1-7 in conference games, it wasn't hard for Tiger coach Rick Montreal to motivate the boys for Tuesday's game at Durand.
The sole leader in the tightly packed Middle Border Conference girls basketball race is Somerset. The Spartan girls went to Durand and knocked off the defending MBC champions 43-41. The win raised Somerset to 5-1 in the conference standings. Prescott, Osceola and Durand are all right on the Spartans' heels, with two losses each. Friday's win at Durand was a tale of two halves.
New Richmond's wrestlers finished with a 6-1 dual meet record this season in the Middle Border Conference. The Tigers finished their dual meet schedule by winning at Baldwin-Woodville 56-20 last Thursday. After completing their dual meet schedule, the Tigers have a lengthy span to practice before competing in this Saturday's Middle Border Conference Wrestling Meet. The MBC meet will be wrestled in Ellsworth. Tiger coach Mark Neumann said the coaches have specific plans for this long span between meets. "We will definitely try to refine things," Neumann said.
The push is on to get the wrestlers prepped for the Middle Border Conference meet after the Somerset wrestlers completed their dual meet schedule last Thursday. The final dual match came against one of the Spartans' oldest rivals, Osceola. The Spartans put up a good fight, but took a 48-29 loss. This leaves them with a 2-5 final record in MBC dual matches. Somerset and Osceola each won four matches in the eight matches that were wrestled on Thursday.
The defense played by the New Richmond girls basketball team is good enough to win nearly any game they play in the Middle Border Conference. But those wins won't come until the Tigers are more productive on offense and rebound better than they did in a pair of losses last week. The Tigers had chances to defeat Amery last Tuesday. The Tigers were burned by a steady stream of Amery offensive rebound baskets, which carried the Warriors to a 34-28 win over the Tigers. The lack of height on the Tiger varsity roster doomed them when they played at Osceola last Friday.
The offense came to life in the second half on Monday and it carried the St. Croix Panthers to a huge comeback victory. The Panthers trailed Glenwood City 25-14 at halftime. The Panther offense got rolling and they took the lead midway through the fourth quarter. The Panthers then held on to score a 38-37 win over the Hilltoppers. The win leaves the Panthers in a tie with Boyceville for third place in the Dunn-St. Croix Conference standings with a 7-3 record.