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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Getting past the regional final remains an elusive goal for the New Richmond boys basketball team. The Tigers were upset in Saturday's regional final, losing to River Falls 54-45 at Osceola High School. River Falls advances to the WIAA Division 2 sectional semifinal. They will face Onalaska in that game, which will be played at 7 p.m. on Thursday at Eau Claire North High School. The winner of Thursday's game will play in the sectional championship game in Marshfield at 7 p.m. on Saturday. The Tigers finish the season with a 22-2 record. This matches the best record in team history.
One of the best girls basketball teams in Minnesota has a strong Wisconsin representation. Claire Van Dyk of New Richmond, Tessa Cichy of Somerset and Morgan Rustad of Hudson are all key members of the top-ranked Hill-Murray High School girls basketball team in St. Paul. Another Hudson resident, eighth grader Olivia Graskewicz, is working her way onto the Hill-Murray varsity team. Hill-Murray is the top seed in its sectional tournament bracket. The Pioneers will play in the sectional championship game this Thursday at 7 p.m. against South St.
The rest of the New Richmond girls basketball team wanted to give their seniors a Senior Night to remember. For a half, the Tigers battled basket-for-basket with Durand, one of the teams that would tie for third place in the Middle Border Conference. But in the second half the Tigers' shooting went cold and the Tigers took a 41-29 loss in their regular season finale last Thursday. The Tigers ended the regular season with a 2-12 record in the MBC and a 3-19 overall mark. The Tigers were scheduled to open WIAA Division 2 regional tournament action on Tuesday at Rice Lake.
Dylan Rivard is getting ready to start his senior track season. He's also completed his plans for his next track season. Rivard has competed at the WIAA State Track Meet each of the past two seasons. With track practice beginning this Monday, Rivard is looking at returning to the state meet for his senior season. He also knows he'll be running track for four years after his high school career is completed. On Monday Rivard signed his college letter of intent to run track at UW-Parkside. Rivard is the second St. Croix County runner to join the Parkside program. St.
A.J. Wallace found the perfect opportunity at the perfect time. That's why he accepted a scholarship offer to become part of the University of Minnesota-Crookston football program. Wallace, a senior at New Richmond High School, last week signed his Division 2 national letter of intent to attend Crookston. He is the second local athlete to sign on with Crookston this winter. Somerset's Ashley Martell has accepted a scholarship offer to play basketball at Crookston next year. Wallace stands 6 feet, 4 inches tall and weighs 240 pounds.
Ending the season on a positive note was a goal for the St. Croix Central boys basketball team. By winning their WIAA Division 3 playoff opener against St. Croix Falls last Tuesday, the Panthers achieved their goal. The Panthers defeated the Saints 54-46 on Tuesday. That moved Central into the regional semifinal on Friday against Osceola. Central led for much of the first half, but the Panthers couldn't match a push made by the Chieftains in the third quarter.
Another sign that the Somerset boys basketball program is turning around came last Tuesday, when the Spartans earned their first WIAA tournament win in six years. The Spartans, who were seeded fifth, went to Amery and eliminated the Warriors, 57-48. That win moved the Spartans into the regional semifinals at top-seeded Unity on Friday. The Spartans found they still have steps to go before they can compete with top teams in the area, losing 60-39. The Spartans finish the season with a 6-17 overall record.
When Nikki Brooks went down, it was time for the rest of the St. Croix Central girls to step up. That's what happened in the final regular season game for the Panthers last Thursday. Brooks, the senior captain and leading scorer, struck her head on the floor and didn't get up. The rest of the Panthers came through, as the Panthers defeated Elmwood 45-41. Central ends the regular season with a 12-10 record. They were scheduled to open WIAA Division 3 regional tournament action on Tuesday with a game at St. Croix Falls.
The Somerset and St. Croix Central boys made it through their opening Division 3 regional games in the WIAA basketball tournaments on Tuesday night. Somerset went to Amery on Tuesday and knocked off the Warriors 58-47. Somerset's next assignment is facing top-seeded Unity on the Eagles' home court. That game will be played at 7 p.m. on Friday. St. Croix Central boys scored a 54-46 homecourt win over St. Croix Falls on Tuesday. The Panthers will play this Friday at 7 p.m.
New Richmond's boys hockey team is headed to the WIAA State Tournament for the first time since 2003 after the Tigers knocked off top-seed Superior in the sectional championship game Saturday afternoon. New Richmond will face the winner of Saturday's game between Wausau West and Mosinee in the state tournament opening round. That game is scheduled to be played at 8:15 p.m.