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 defense played by the New Richmond girls basketball team is good enough to win nearly any game they play in the Middle Border Conference. But those wins won't come until the Tigers are more productive on offense and rebound better than they did in a pair of losses last week. The Tigers had chances to defeat Amery last Tuesday. The Tigers were burned by a steady stream of Amery offensive rebound baskets, which carried the Warriors to a 34-28 win over the Tigers. The lack of height on the Tiger varsity roster doomed them when they played at Osceola last Friday.
The offense came to life in the second half on Monday and it carried the St. Croix Panthers to a huge comeback victory. The Panthers trailed Glenwood City 25-14 at halftime. The Panther offense got rolling and they took the lead midway through the fourth quarter. The Panthers then held on to score a 38-37 win over the Hilltoppers. The win leaves the Panthers in a tie with Boyceville for third place in the Dunn-St. Croix Conference standings with a 7-3 record.
Somerset's boys basketball team nearly took down one of the top teams in the Lakeland Conference on Monday night. The Spartans went toe-to-toe with Grantsburg until the final moments of Monday's game. Grantsburg hit late free throws to pull away to a 63-53 win over the Spartans. Grantsburg is currently 13-3 and in second place in the West Lakeland Conference. Somerset is now 2-12 with a 1-7 record in the Middle Border Conference. Monday's game started badly for the Spartans, with Grantsburg taking a 14-4 lead in the first quarter.
If the St. Croix Central boys turn their season around in February, Panther coach Mike Fern will point to Saturday's loss at Ellsworth as the turning point. The 49-40 loss at Ellsworth was the seventh straight loss for Central, which saw its season record drop to 6-10. Still, Fern came out of Saturday's game quite optimistic that better things are just around the corner for the Panthers. Central led for much of Saturday's game against an Ellsworth team that is a contender in the Middle Border Conference.
Again, the New Richmond girls skaters battled evenly with a top tier opponent for much of their game. This time it was the Tigers facing the Eau Claire Area Stars at Hobbs Ice Arena in Eau Claire last Thursday. The Tigers and Stars battled evenly until the final seven minutes of the game. In those final seven minutes the Stars scored three times to beat the Tigers, 4-1. The loss leaves the Tigers with an 8-11-1 record. The seeding for the WIAA girls hockey sectional tournament will be determined this Sunday.
The defense was in full force for the Somerset hockey team last week. The Spartans gave impressive defensive performances against Amery and Chippewa Falls. The Spartans fell short in the offensive department in trying to take advantage of their stellar defensive play. On Thursday the Spartans and Amery battled evenly until near the end of overtime. Amery's Jake Mullendore scored with 1:14 left in the overtime to give the Warriors a 2-1 win over the Spartans. On Saturday the Spartans went to Chippewa Falls and held a lead well into the third period. The Spartans couldn't hold on.
A short film produced by five Somerset third-graders will hold its premiere at the Somerset Public Library on Saturday, Feb. 19. The film by the Somerset students is titled "Food Drive." It is a four-minute film about hunger, food consumption and waste in Somerset. After the screening of Food Drive, the 76-minute documentary "What's On Your Plate" will be shown. This film follows two New York City 11-year-old girls on a mission to discover where their meals really come from. The screening in Somerset will begin at noon on Feb. 19.
There have been rumblings all season. "Wait until the New Richmond boys have to face Osceola's twin towers. Then their lack of height will be exploited." The doubters were proven wrong, as New Richmond's boys improved to 12-0 for the 2010-11 season with a 46-33 win over Osceola last Tuesday. For a quarter it appeared the Tigers were letting the long reach of Osceola's Lincoln Howard and Kyle Bussewitz have an effect. Howard is listed at 6-6 and Bussewitz at 6-5.
The New Richmond hockey boys are beginning to feel momentum building. It goes beyond the fact that the Tigers have outscored their opponents 28-1 in their last four games. The Tigers are now 10-5 this season. The coaches have spent the past few weeks beginning to groom the team so it will be playoff ready when the WIAA tournaments begin on Feb. 15. Beginning with Thursday's game against Baldwin-Woodville, the Tigers have six regular season games remaining.
Somerset senior Ashley Martell reached the 1,000-point milestone last Tuesday and the Spartans maintained a share of the Middle Border Conference lead during a hectic week. Martell reached the 1,000-point mark, scoring on a fastbreak early in the first quarter of Somerset's 47-33 win over Glenwood City. She finished the night with a game-high 15 points. Classmate Karli Solum scored 12 points for the Spartans. Martell becomes the eighth player in Somerset basketball history to score 1,000 points in their career.