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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No crystal ball was needed for the St. Croix Central girls basketball team to see its future. All it took was a one-sided victory. The Panthers rolled over winless Plum City by a 64-23 score on Thursday. The win raises the Panthers' season record to 10-7. They remain locked in a battle for third place in the conference standings. Central and Elk Mound ended last week with 8-5 records, one-half game behind Mondovi's 9-5 mark. As a team, the Panthers set a goal for Thursday's game of getting early momentum and maintaining a constant level of intensity throughout the game.
New Richmond's girls hockey team wasn't able to pull off an upset in the opening round of the WIAA tournaments, but the Tigers gave it their best effort. The seventh-seeded Tigers went to Hudson last Thursday and for more than half the game, the Tigers put up an excellent fight against the Raiders. It wasn't until late in the second period that the second-seeded Raiders pulled away from the Tigers for a 5-1 win. In the first period the Tigers may have been the better team in the game.
After Ellsworth delivered the worst beating inflicted on the Somerset girls basketball team of the 2009-10 season last Tuesday, Spartan coach Kendrick Livers made his team take a long look at the scoreboard following the game. He wanted the team to remember the sting of the 67-39 loss and the way the Ellsworth fans were reveling in beating the Spartans. The loss struck a nerve amongst the Spartans. They came back with a momentous effort on Friday, upsetting Osceola 44-41.
Former New Richmond varsity baseball coach John Ball didn't stay out of coaching for long. Ball was contacted by four baseball organizations to become part of their coaching staff after removing his name from consideration for the Tiger varsity position. Ball decided to become the assistant varsity coach for the Somerset baseball program. Somerset athletic director Brad Nemec said he pursued Ball to fill the assistant coach position. "We approached John and at first he said he wanted time to think about it," Nemec said. Ball met several times with Somerset varsity coach Brandon Kadlec.
Children at the Somerset Elementary School are taught to address adults as "Mr.," "Miss" or "Mrs." There is one exception. To the 700 students who sometimes need a bandage, a pat on the head or a safe place to hide from the world for a few moments, they turn to "Chuck." Chuck Ennis will be retiring this spring after 15 years of serving as the health care provider at the elementary school. This will be the second retirement for Ennis.
It will be New Richmond and Superior battling in the WIAA boys hockey sectional championship game this Saturday. New Richmond advanced to the championship game with a 2-1 win over Menomonie on Tuesday night. Superior reached the championship game by scoring in the fifth overtime period to beat River Falls 2-1 on Tuesday. The sectional championship game will played at 1 p.m. on Saturday at Wessman Arena in Superior. Tickets for the sectional championship game will be on sale at the New Richmond High School office during school hours on Thursday and through noon on Friday morning.
It all comes down to one game for the Middle Border Conference boys basketball championship. New Richmond and Osceola both won Tuesday night. That means the Tigers and Chieftains will battle on Friday night, with the winner getting the outright 2010 MBC championship. Friday's game will be played at New Richmond High School, starting at 7:30 p.m. New Richmond scored a 38-29 win over Amery on Tuesday night. The Tigers used a ball-hawking defense to take control of the game.
Heading into Thursday's WIAA tournament opener, the New Richmond boys hockey team is solidly locked into playoff mode. Last Friday and Saturday the Tigers played in a tournament in Rhinelander. The Tigers won the championship, earning the "Golden Hodag" trophy. The weekend away locked the Tigers into a playoff focus, both on and off the ice. The team was able to have concentrated time together, having fun while also focusing on hockey. Several players gave themselves arrowhead haircuts.
There are two ways to look at New Richmond's 41-39 non-conference boys basketball loss at River Falls on Monday night. You could view it that the Tigers put up a big battle against the 16-4 Wildcats, who are in second place in the Big Rivers Conference. Tiger coach Rick Montreal prefers to look at this game as a win that got away. "I'm in the minority. I expect to win those games," Montreal said. For nearly three quarters, this was a one-possession game.
New Richmond was able to advance seven wrestlers into this Saturday's WIAA Division 1 Merrill Sectional Meet. Now comes the hard part. With two wrestlers from each sectional weight class qualifying for state, every one of the Tigers competing in the sectional will have a challenging path to get to the state meet. Leading the Tigers into the sectional tournament will be junior Tanner Turany, New Richmond's lone champion in last Saturday's River Falls Division 1 regional tournament.