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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Ladysmith's defense lived up to its reputation. The Lumberjacks were relentless in smothering Somerset's offense in Thursday's WIAA Division 3 Sectional Semifinal at Rice Lake on Thursday. Somerset's offense never got rolling and Ladysmith cruised to a 40-26 win. With the win, Ladysmith faced Fall Creek in the Division 3 sectional championship game.
New Richmond and River Falls played evenly for the first half of their WIAA Division 2 regional opener last Tuesday. River Falls then was able to shut down New Richmond's scoring from the low post. With that, the Wildcats pulled away in the second half for a 54-43 win. The loss ends New Richmond's season. The Tigers, who were seeded fifth in the regional, end the season with a 4-17 record. In the first half the Tigers were successful in getting the ball into the low post.
Knocking off the top two seeded teams in the regional has gotten the Somerset boys basketball team into the WIAA Division 3 sectionals. Last Thursday the Spartans caught fire in the final minutes of the game to overtake Glenwood City 56-52. Glenwood City was the top seed in the regional. That win put the Spartans in Saturday's regional final against Boyceville, where the Bulldogs had been the second seeded team.
The New Richmond girls hockey team started last week in the best possible situation. The Tiger girls had two chances to play their way into the 2003 WIAA Girls State Hockey Tournament. But neither of those opportunities panned out for the Tigers, losing to Superior and Hudson in state tournament qualifying games last week. Last Thursday Superior visited the Tigers. New Richmond was the second seed in the sectional and Superior was seeded third. The lead in this game changed hands several times, but Superior held it in the end, winning 6-4.
For a half, the St. Croix Central boys were the equal of Boyceville. Central's boys led 20-17 in the Dunn-St. Croix Conference finale for both teams last Friday. Then in the second half, Central's shooting went cold and Boyceville's rebounding caught fire. The Panthers were left in the wake of a 50-37 final score. The Panther who tried keeping the team in the game in the fourth quarter was senior David Reyzer. The Panthers had seven points in the fourth and Reyzer scored all seven.
Andrew Neumann completed the most successful wrestling career in Somerset High School history on Saturday by winning his first WIAA state wrestling championship. Somerset teammate Bruce Baillargeon also reached the Division 3 state wrestling finals Saturday, losing in the 152-pound state championship match 4-2. This is the first time Somerset has had two wrestlers reach the state championship finals in the same season. Neumann becomes Somerset's third state wrestling champion, following Trevor Anderson in 1993 and Scott Glowe in 1989.
New Richmond's Mitch Campeau had qualified for the state powerlifting competition, as one of 81 lifters who competed in the New Richmond Powerlifting Meet on Saturday. Eleven of the lifters had lifts that qualified for the state meet, which will be held March 15 in Kaukauna. Wrestlers from all over the state came to the New Richmond meet because it is the final meet to qualify for state. There were lifters competing from as far away as Racine and Minocqua. There were several impressive individual performances in the meet.
Despite some nervous moments in the final minutes of both games, the Somerset boys basketball team was able to hold off Ellsworth and New Richmond last week. On Thursday the Spartans topped New Richmond 56-48. That followed the 42-39 win at Ellsworth last Tuesday. The Spartans threatened to break the game open early against New Richmond. Somerset held a 20-12 lead after a quarter, then built the lead to 25-12.
A start that redefined "cold shooting" put an end to St. Croix Central's boys basketball hot streak. After winning four straight, the Panthers were hoping to add to that total last Friday against Mondovi. Only the Panthers forgot to bring their shooting touch. Mondovi jumped to leads of 8-0 and 11-1 and never gave up the lead. Central's boys did make a valiant charge in the second half, only to fall short, 48-46. The Panthers trailed by as many as 19 points in the second quarter.
This is how every coach envisions their team starting a game. The New Richmond boys hockey team took absolute control of last Thursday's game from the opening faceoff and never backed off. The Tigers scored three goals in the first five minutes of the game and rolled to a 12-1 win over River Falls in the WIAA hockey regional final. With the win the Tigers advance into Tuesday's sectional semifinal against Menomonie. The winner of Tuesday's game will play in the sectional championship, which will be played at Hobbs Ice Arena in Eau Claire at 3 p.m. on Saturday.