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 next two games for the Western Wisconsin Stars will both be at Hayward. The local girls hockey cooperative team will end its regular season this Saturday at 11 a.m. with a game at Hayward. The Stars will head to Hayward again on Thursday, Feb. 15, with a 7 p.m. clash with the Hurricanes in the opening round of the WIAA girls hockey playoffs.
It was a tough night on the hardwood for the four local basketball teams that played Thursday night. Both New Richmond teams suffered defeats, as did the Somerset and St. Croix Central boys teams on Thursday. The New Richmond girls basketball team put up another good fight, but fell short on their home court, losing to Prescott, 59-55. New Richmond's boys basketball team picked a bad time for its coldest shooting night of the season. The Tigers went to Baldwin-Woodville and were upset by the Blackhawks, 42-40.
The Somerset boys hockey team will get to play at home in the WIAA playoffs. The Spartans received the eighth seed in the WIAA sectional tournament, which was seeded during a lengthy online meeting Sunday, Feb. 4. The Spartans will open the WIAA bracket next Tuesday, Feb. 13, when they host the Barron co-op team at 6 p.m. Two of Somerset's five wins this season have come against that team, named the Northwest Icemen. The Icemen are the ninth seed in the tournament bracket.
The 91 points the Somerset girls basketball team scored in its previous Middle Border Conference game alerted the St. Croix Central girls of the Spartans' growing shooting prowess. The Panthers came ready to shut down the Spartans' shooters and they did exactly that. Central turned into the team with red-hot shooting, defeating the Spartans 59-36 in Somerset. The game locked up a share of the MBC championship for Central.
It was a textbook win. The first win of 2018 for the Somerset boys basketball team was accomplished just the way any coach would want. The Spartans took the lead from the start last Tuesday against Baldwin-Woodville and they kept the lead under control the rest of the night, defeating the Blackhawks 55-46. It was Somerset's fifth win of the season, but the first since a win over Boyceville on Dec. 21.
Brett Mousel's steal and fastbreak layup at the buzzer gave the St. Croix Central boys basketball team a 49-47 win at Osceola last Friday. This was the second highly-intense finish of the week for the Panthers. Three nights earlier, they lost at home against New Richmond 53-50, with a Panther three-point shot at the buzzer bounding off the rim.
Three weeks. Starting last week, the New Richmond boys basketball team had three weeks remaining in its regular season. And in those three weeks, the Tigers set a goal of getting things right. There had been more moral victories than actual victories up to this point, and the Tigers wanted to put an ending to the season that was a more true indication of their ability.
The St. Croix Central girls basketball team locked up its first outright Middle Border Conference title on Tuesday night. In front of a large home crowd, the Panthers defeated rival Baldwin-Woodville, 55-38.
The future is where it's at for the New Richmond girls basketball team. So, while the final score wasn't in the Tigers' favor last Thursday at Amery, the Tigers considered this game a step in the right direction. The Tigers kept the game close throughout the night before losing to the Warriors, 49-36.
The best hope for a Middle Border Conference individual champion at Saturday's 2018 MBC wrestling meet was junior Ryan Larson. Prescott's Ty Sanford, the top-ranked 195-pound Division 2 wrestler in the state, stood in Larson's way. They waged an intense, physical match. Larson needed a takedown in the final 30 seconds, but Sanford blocked every attempt, giving Prescott the 4-3 victory. Larson was the only Panther to reach the finals on Saturday. Central only had eight wrestlers competing and they finished eighth in the team competition.