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 angst of a grueling non-conference season has quickly melted away for the Somerset girls basketball team. Wins over New Richmond and Ellsworth last week provided a quick ascent up the Middle Border Conference standings for the Spartans. They began this week with a 4-1 MBC record, putting them in a first place tie with Durand. The Spartans' win over New Richmond last Tuesday was an immense defensive battle, sprinkled with bursts of offense.
The Stillwater Stampede offered some strong competition for the Somerset wrestling team on Saturday. The Spartans put forth a good showing, winning two duals and giving the tournament champion its best competition of the day. In the opening round of the tournament the Spartans drew the top seed, powerful Bloomington Kennedy. Somerset lost 40-30, which was the closest any team came to Bloomington in the tournament.
Much of the holiday break for the St. Croix Central boys basketball team was spent honing the team's individual and team offensive skills. While the Panthers did show offensive improvements in their three games last week, the team's defense was not as sharp as before the Christmas break. With the small amount of varsity experience the Panthers brought into the season, they are playing a perpetual game of catch-up. The most glaring need for improvement was at the offensive end and the work over the holidays did show.
The facts were pretty clear. If the Somerset boys basketball team didn't beat Ellsworth on Thursday, the Spartans could kiss any chance of catching the Middle Border Conference leaders goodbye. The Spartans trailed for much of Thursday's game, but they hit 7-8 free throws in the final minute to pull ahead of Ellsworth for a 43-40 victory. The win raised the Spartans' record in the MBC to 2-3. Their three losses were to three of the MBC leaders and all by close margins. "It was nice to finally get a close one," said Spartan coach Brent Larson.
Former St. Croix Central school district administrator Dan Woll has added another title to his career accomplishments: novelist. Woll and his long-time friend John W. Lyon, penned the historic novel "Death on Cache Lake." The book has been in the works for some time. Actually, decades. Woll said he first wrote a vignette about a harrowing canoe trip in the 1980s and sent it to Lyon. "It came back a year later wrapped in a novel," Woll said. Neither man thought the book was strong enough to be published at the time.
Hundreds of winter hats are on their way to charities thanks to the efforts of Somerset sixth grade students. The hats were created in the sewing unit of the healthy living class taught by Family and Consumer Science instructor Debbie Stevens. Students bring in a half-yard of fleece for the class, enough to make two or four hats, depending upon the pattern they chose. Each student is required to make one hat. Many make more. The 134 sixth-graders this year made more than 440 hats. Many of those hats were donated to charitable organizations like Grace Place, WestCAP and the St.
New Richmond's Alli Wielinski scored with 2.5 seconds remaining in overtime to lift the Tiger girls hockey team to a badly-needed 5-4 win at Viroqua on Friday. The win raises the Tigers' record to 4-10-1 and is the first win in the 2012 portion of their schedule. The Tigers built a 4-1 lead early in Friday's game and the Tigers had many, many more chances to score. The Tigers amassed a season-high 62 shots on goal as they dominated control of the puck. In the overtime the Tigers continued to force all the action, putting nine shots on goal.
The next two Thursdays will decide whether St. Croix Central wins the Dunn-St. Croix Conference dual wrestling championship. This Thursday the Panthers wrestle at Boyceville. The following Thursday the Panthers will host Spring Valley-Elmwood.
The New Richmond boys basketball team has run hot and cold lately, but the Tigers were definitely hot on Tuesday. New Richmond and Prescott entered Tuesday's game tied at the top of the Middle Border Conference standings. The Tigers used a smothering defense and good ball movement on offense to produce a 56-41 win over the Cardinals. New Richmond stands alone at the top of the MBC standings with a 5-1 record. Prescott falls into a tie with Baldwin-Woodville at 4-2. Dalton Sabby and Joe Deppe paced the Tiger offense Tuesday with 16 and 15 points respectively.
The New Richmond wrestling team and the Somerset boys basketball team both put together late charges in their Middle Border Conference contests Thursday night. The Tiger wrestlers nearly overcame a 21-point deficit, falling short in their comeback try against Amery, 36-33. Somerset's boys basketball team trailed Ellsworth 23-16 at halftime. The Spartans hit seven of eight free throws in the final minute to overtake the Panthers, 45-40. Also earning wins on Thursday where the Somerset and St.