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 St. Croix Central boys now share the Dunn-St. Croix Conference basketball lead after charging back in the fourth quarter, then beating Colfax in overtime on Saturday, 57-55. Colfax came into the game with a spotless D-SC record and it was easy to see why. For much of Saturday's game the Vikings held the upper hand, with a huge front line and two guards who were deadly shooters from the perimeter. "They are big," Central coach Mike Fern said of Colfax's front line. "They're not only wide, they're tall." Those wide bodies gave Colfax a huge rebounding advantage in the game.
If you enjoy offensive hockey, the 13-7 win by the New Richmond boys over Baldwin-Woodville gave you plenty of entertainment. If you're a fan of defensive hockey, the game was downright offensive, bordering on vulgar. The 20 goals is one of the highest combined single game goal totals in Tiger history.
New Richmond and Ellsworth might have both had 4-0 Middle Border Conference records heading into last Thursday's dual meet. That didn't mean the two teams were equal. The youth and relative inexperience in the New Richmond lineup showed against the defending conference champions. Ellsworth rolled to a 48-17 win over the Tigers. New Richmond was able to win four of the individual matches. Joel Neumann scored a pin in the heavyweight match. The Tigers were able to string together three straight wins in the middle weights.
For the past month, the New Richmond girls hockey team has been putting up a good performance game after game, even when they weren't resulting in wins. That stretch came to an abrupt end last Tuesday. The Tigers played without a spark in a 7-2 loss to Eau Claire at the New Richmond Sports Center. The loss sets the Tigers back to 3-8-3 in their games this season. The Tigers are hoping they can add to their win total this Thursday when they play at Menomonie.
Getting a strong performance at both ends of the floor was the key for the New Richmond girls basketball team last Thursday. The Tigers scored their first Middle Border Conference win of the season with a 47-26 win at Baldwin-Woodville on Thursday. The win capped a transitional week for the Tigers. They started the week playing without senior center Kim Bethke, who broke a pinky finger in the Tigers' recent loss to Chippewa Falls. Meghan Frank was moved into the starting lineup. Tiger coach Jeff Kanewischer said it was hoped Bethke will be able to return this season.
A rare triple-double from Sara Hawkins and a big defensive effort led the St. Croix Central girls basketball team to a 45-22 win at Plum City last Tuesday. The win raises the Panthers to 3-1 in Dunn-St. Croix Conference games. At that point they were tied for second place in the conference with Colfax and Mondovi. They were all one game behind Boyceville. Hawkins put together one of the biggest statistical games in recent memory for the Panthers. She finished the game with 14 points.
A frantic fourth quarter comeback by the Somerset girls basketball team last Thursday fell one point short. Somerset trailed against Ellsworth 52-38 heading into the fourth quarter on Thursday. The Spartans went to a full-court press, playing five guards for most of the fourth quarter. They were able to tie the score, but could never get the lead. Ellsworth was able to pull out a 60-59 win, delivering the Spartans' first Middle Border Conference loss of the season. The Spartans fell behind immediately and were already facing a double-digit deficit in the first quarter.
There is momentum building in the St. Croix Central wrestling team. The Panthers went to Westby on Saturday and took second place in the Westby Invitational, winning four of their five matches. That came two days after the Panthers put up a good fight in a 41-21 loss to Dunn-St. Croix Conference leader Boyceville. Central won six of the matches wrestled at Boyceville on Thursday. They don't quite have the experience yet to go toe-to-toe with the Bulldogs, but they are closer than the 41-21 score might indicate. "We were in the ballpark with Boyceville," said Central coach Brad Holzer.
It has been a trying stretch for the Somerset wrestling team, on and off the mat. The team was shocked last week when four wrestlers, including three established starters, decided to leave the team. They gave the reason of wanting to concentrate on other sports. This left an already young team now positioned as one of the youngest squads in the Middle Border Conference. The timing wasn't good for the Spartans either. They had to travel to Amery to face a Warrior lineup packed with experienced wrestlers.
When four Somerset seniors violated the school athletic code last week, it meant those players were off the team for the remainder of the boys basketball season. This left the Spartans in a position where they are now the youngest and least experienced team in the Middle Border Conference. Somerset coach Brent Larson said the situation "is almost like a new season." While the Spartans are starting over, they aren't giving up. Last Tuesday's game against Spooner was the first game for the Spartans with their new lineup.