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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New Richmond's girls withstood a late charge from the Somerset girls to score a 44-41 win over the Spartans in Middle Border Conference basketball last Tuesday. The Tigers took the charge of the game early in the second quarter, when a 7-2 run put them up by a 15-6 score. At several different stages of the game the Tigers were able to build leads of nine points, but each time, Somerset's girls fought back. New Richmond led 36-29 midway through the fourth quarter.
The chances of a Dunn-St. Croix Conference championship are still alive for the St. Croix Central's boys basketball team. That's because Central won a double-overtime thriller at Spring Valley last Friday, 61-60. At the same time, Glenwood City was losing at Pepin. This leaves the Panthers one game behind Glenwood City in the D-SC standings. The final games of the D-SC season will be played this Friday. Central's boys will be playing at Pepin, while Glenwood City plays at Mondovi.
Three of the five Somerset wrestlers who competed in front of their home crowd at the 2005 Somerset Division 3 Wrestling Sectional have earned their way to the 2005 state championships. Senior Andy Hecht and juniors Drew Baillargeon and Justin Neumann will be competing in the 2005 WIAA State Wrestling Championships this Friday and Saturday in Madison.
The 2005 Somerset wrestling sectional was far too short and none too sweet for the St. Croix Central wrestlers who competed there Saturday. Central had sophomore Curtis Hinkel and junior Craig Myer competing in the sectional tournament. Both of the Panthers were beaten in their opening round of the sectional and neither was able to get a wrestleback. Hinkel had won the regional title at 112 pounds and he faced Independence senior Corey Kampa in the opening round of the sectional. Hinkel didn't wrestle his usual style in this match and Kampa was able to get a 3-2 win.
The final week of the regular season was certainly not easy for the Somerset's girls basketball team, but the Spartan girls made progress through their final three games. The Spartans were scheduled to open the WIAA Division 3 tournaments on Tuesday with a home game against St. Croix Falls. The winner of Tuesday's game will be back in action on Thursday, facing the winner of the game between Glenwood City and Unity. Last Thursday and Friday the Spartans ended the regular season with wins over Prescott and Grantsburg.
The Tiger girls hockey team is hoping to refind its spark before the WIAA girls playoffs begin on Feb. 25. The regular season came to a less than auspicious end for the Tigers on Saturday, when they lost on their home ice to Superior, 2-0. The Tigers now await the results of Sunday's WIAA seeding meeting. New Richmond is in the same sectional as Superior, Hudson and Onalaska.
St. Croix Central's boys proved they are ready to be a force in the 2005 tournaments by knocking off Dunn-St. Croix Conference leader Glenwood City 45-42 on Saturday. The Panthers won the game when senior Tyler Cody swished a three-pointer from the top of the arc with 2.4 seconds remaining. The win keeps Central's faint hopes of a conference title alive heading into this week. The Panthers trailed the Hilltoppers by two games at the start of this week, with three games remaining on the schedule. On Tuesday the Panthers were scheduled to play Colfax.
After the crushing loss to Durand on Feb. 4, the Somerset boys basketball team decided it needed to get back under control. The result was a pair of road wins, over New Richmond and Prescott, last week. The Spartans beat New Richmond 50-38 last Tuesday. That was followed by a 50-45 win at Prescott last Thursday. There were clearly changes when the Spartans took the court in New Richmond. The biggest change was, for the first time in recent memory, the Spartans didn't use full-court pressure. That tactic ended up working well for the Spartans.
The battle to decide second place in the Middle Border Conference had a much larger significance for the Somerset hockey team on Saturday. The Spartans were playing the game one day after finding out the former teammate Jason Plourde had died. Plourde was a senior on the 2004 Spartan team. After struggling with their emotions early in the game, the Spartans grew stronger steadily through the game, finishing with a 5-1 win over the Warriors. This was Somerset's final game of the regular season.
The New Richmond boys hockey team starts WIAA playoffs with momentum on its side. The Tigers knocked off Hudson, then ranked third in the state, last Thursday by a 4-3 score in the final regular season game for the Tigers. This Friday the Tigers start the WIAA sectionals with a home game against Amery at 7 p.m. The Tigers are the third seed in the regional and Amery is the sixth seed.