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 15 wins earned by the Somerset hockey team is the third highest total in team history. The Spartans were hoping to increase that total in the WIAA playoffs, but their playoff run was stopped in last Thursday's regional final in New Richmond. The Spartans generated 22 shots, including several close calls in a frantic third period, but they couldn't find a way to score. Their season ended with a 4-0 loss to New Richmond. Somerset coach Dan Gilkerson said the team took the "bend but don't break" approach to defending New Richmond. That worked for most of the game.
The detour away from their usual winning ways appears to be over for the Somerset girls basketball team. The Spartans got turned back in the right direction last Thursday, earning a 41-30 win over Ellsworth. The win keeps the Spartans in a tie for third place in the Middle Border Conference standings. They are tied with Prescott, which pulled off a major surprise, beating MBC leader Durand on Thursday, 35-34. This Friday the Spartans will get their shot at the MBC leader.
Between three-point shooting and free throw shooting, the Somerset boys basketball team looked like it was holding target practice in Friday's 64-47 win over Amery. The win lifts Somerset's Middle Border Conference record to 7-6. The Spartans complete their regular season this Thursday, when they compete at Durand. The WIAA Division 3 sectional seeding meeting was held this weekend. Because the Spartans went undefeated against teams in their sectional bracket, they received the second seed in the section.
The St. Croix Central boys basketball team has elevated its play to where it is competitive in most games. Now, as the season wanes, the Panthers are hoping to take one more step in their basketball genesis. Last week the Panthers were able to play on even footing for much of their games against Boyceville and Elmwood. In the Panthers' 45-30 loss to Boyceville, Central led for a large part of the first half. That included most of the second quarter, when neither team was able to score for several minutes.
It seemed that every week this season the New Richmond girls hockey team was playing a state-ranked team. So it's fitting that a state-ranked team was the opponent that knocked the Tigers out of the 2012 WIAA state playoffs last Thursday. The Tigers lost 8-1 at Hayward, which is ranked second in the state this week. The Tigers finish the season with a 6-16-1 record. The only senior on the Tiger roster, Paige Charland, scored the team's lone goal in Thursday's playoff loss. Charland was one of several Tiger players who got medical clearance the day of the game to play at Hayward.
It's the rematch hockey fans have been waiting for. New Richmond's boys hockey team will face Superior in Saturday's sectional championship game. New Richmond advanced with a 6-3 win over Hudson in Tuesday's sectional semifinal game. Superior notched a 7-3 win over the Siren co-op team at Wessman Arena in Superior. Tickets for Saturday's game will be sold at the New Richmond High School office on Wednesday and Thursday. Tickets are $4 each. New Richmond played two outstanding periods against Hudson, sandwiched around a real stinker.
With the elimination of collective bargaining in Wisconsin public schools, school districts are replacing teacher contracts with agreements called "employee handbooks." Since October, members of the Somerset Board of Education have been meeting weekly to structure the district's employee handbook, which is scheduled to take effect in July. The elimination of collective bargaining came about by the passing of Act 10 by Gov. Scott Walker.
One of the best stretches of defensive efforts in a decade or more has carried the New Richmond girls basketball team to new heights in the Middle Border Conference. The Tigers moved into sole possession of second place in the MBC with two wins that were created by the smothering defense that has become the Tigers' trademark. The Tigers shut down a potent Somerset offense on Friday, defeating the Spartans 48-28. Three nights earlier, the Tigers earned a 36-29 win at Baldwin-Woodville. The wins over Somerset and Baldwin-Woodville raise the Tigers' MBC record to 8-3.
There were some pretty drastic extremes in the play of the New Richmond boys basketball team last week. The Tigers suffered a meltdown, in their play and their behavior, in a 53-42 non-conference loss at River Falls last Tuesday. On Thursday the Tigers trailed nearly the entire game against Somerset. In the final five minutes the Tigers made a spirited comeback, overtaking the Spartans for a 50-48 victory. Thursday's win keeps the Tigers in the Middle Border Conference lead. The Tigers started this week with a 9-2 MBC record, one game ahead of Baldwin-Woodville.
The biggest surprise in the Division 1 wrestling regional at Chippewa Falls on Saturday was clearly the New Richmond Tigers. The Tigers had one of the least experienced lineups in the tournament, but the Tigers wrestled far beyond their experience level. The Tigers were able to advance eight of their wrestlers into this Saturday's Division 1 sectional tournament at Eau Claire North. Wrestling is scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. in Eau Claire. Here's the best indication of how well the Tigers wrestled in the regional meet on Saturday.