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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Somerset's girls basketball team is suddenly streaking up the Middle Border Conference standings. The Spartans are riding a five-game wave of wins, with four of those wins coming in conference play. The Spartans are now 6-5 in MBC games, one-half game behind fourth place Prescott. The Spartans are 10-6 overall. The fifth win in that streak came on Monday, when the Spartans won a make-up game at Baldwin-Woodville, 53-33. Baldwin-Woodville is at the bottom of the conference standings and is struggling to put forth any substantial offense.
The New Richmond girls basketball team won two of its three games last week and was three points short of sweeping its three games. Not bad for a team that started the week with one win for the season. The Tigers started last week by beating Spooner 44-40. Last Tuesday the Tigers played one of the most intense contests of the season. They made an excellent comeback in the final minutes, but Somerset's Kellie Ring sank two free throws with eight seconds left to beat the Tigers 46-23. Last Friday the Tigers played at home against Baldwin-Woodville.
Fans never know what they are going to get from the St. Croix Central boys basketball team. But when the Panthers play Dunn-St. Croix Conference leaders, they seem to play their best. On Monday night the Panthers upset a Dunn-St. Croix Conference leader for the second time this season, stunning Mondovi 47-46. On Jan. 20 the Panthers zapped Colfax, 57-50.
An idea to expand the weight room at Somerset High School has grown into a fund-raising effort to build a new $500,000 athletic building for the school district. Somerset football coach Bruce Larson got the idea rolling, recognizing that the current weight room space at the high school is not sufficient for the number of students now involved in weight training. Larson is spear-heading the effort and he plans to raise all of the money through donations.
By the start of the 2009-10 school year, there should be a second driveway to access the Somerset School District grounds. The Somerset Board of Education has begun the process to have a second driveway constructed on school district property. This driveway would come in from the western edge of the property, from the Somerset Meadows development, which was built on the site of the old waterslide. In its January meeting, the school board hired Cedar Corp. to draw up specs for the driveway and oversee the project. Cedar Corp.
Wins on back-to-back nights over Amery and Baldwin-Woodville have locked up a share of the Middle Border Conference championship for the New Richmond boys hockey team. The Tigers can lock up the undisputed conference championship this Thursday. That's when they play at home against Baldwin-Woodville in the final round of conference action. Last week's back-to-back games weren't part of the original schedule, but an earlier postponement meant the Tigers were going to have to test their endurance. They made it through Thursday's game with a 6-4 home-ice win over Amery.
When Osceola beat New Richmond's boys basketball team in the first game of the season, it taught the Tigers that they needed to make improvements in their perimeter defense. So when Osceola and New Richmond met on Friday, with the Middle Border Conference lead up for grabs, the Tigers showed how much their defense has improved. The Tigers defense had a wondrous night, especially in the middle two quarters, as the Tigers stung Osceola 61-48.
Somerset's Kellie Ring was clearly tickled that she was able to reach the 1,000-point destination in her high school basketball career. She was even more pleased that the mark was accomplished during an outstanding performance by the whole Spartan team. Ring reached the mark during last Thursday's game, when the Spartans upset Prescott 52-43. Prescott came into the game with a 12-1 record. For Ring, success has always been team-related. For most of her life she has been the younger member of the lineup. The Class of 2008 was one of Somerset's most talented.
The New Richmond boys hockey team played one of its best periods to start out last Thursday's game against Somerset. And the Tigers never took their foot off the accelerator. They outshot Somerset 53-20 to earn a 4-1 victory. The win puts the Tigers at 2-1 in the Middle Border Conference. Their loss came in their first meeting with Somerset. They can continue their reign as the only MBC hockey champion if they can win their final three conference games. Two of those games come this week. The Tigers play at home on Thursday against Amery.
It would have been easy for the New Richmond girls hockey team to fold after crushing losses to River Falls and Eau Claire. Instead, the Tigers recommitted to their team philosophy and played some of their best hockey of the season last week. Last Thursday the Tigers had the biggest offensive production of their season in crushing Menomonie 9-1. On Friday the Tigers went to Viroqua and rallied from a 2-0 third period deficit to win 4-3. The Menomonie game was critical to the Tigers' seeding chances. The Tigers beat Menomonie 6-5 the first time they met.