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 number of shots the Somerset boys hockey team has allowed in its past three games is staggering. And it follows a season-long downward trend in Somerset's defensive play. Somerset has outshot its opponents in just three of its 21 games this season. That has happened once in the Spartans' last 17 games. That trend carried through a pair of Middle Border Conference losses last week. They were defeated 10-1 at New Richmond last Tuesday, before losing on their home ice to Baldwin-Woodville last Thursday, 6-2.
You can't get much closer to winning. The Somerset boys basketball team held a 13-point lead early in the second half. The Spartans and Osceola were deadlocked in the final seconds. But it was Osceola's Haakon Carlson who hit the spinning shot from in the lane with three seconds remaining to give the Chieftains a 46-44 win over the Spartans. The loss dropped Somerset to 4-11 for the season. The Spartans resume their schedule this Friday with a game at Middle Border Conference leader Prescott.
What: 2018 Middle Border Conference Wrestling Tournament Where: Baldwin-Woodville High School When: Saturday, Feb. 3, wrestling begins at 9:30 a.m. The Middle Border Conference wrestling tournament championship has been under the sole ownership of the Ellsworth wrestling team for most of this century. That does not look like it will be changing at the 2018 MBC tournament.
Two teams still had hopes of overtaking St. Croix Central for the top spot in the Middle Border Conference girls basketball standings at the start of last week. By the end of last week, Central had achieved hard-fought victories over both of those teams. With wins over Prescott and Amery, Central's girls are closing in on their first Middle Border Conference championship. A win for the Panthers this Thursday at Somerset would lock up a share of the conference title. The Panthers also play a conference game at home next Tuesday against Baldwin-Woodville.
When the New Richmond and Osceola wrestlers line up as healthy teams, it should make for a highly competitive team battle. But when they met last Thursday in Osceola, the Tigers were not healthy. With two of their most experienced wrestlers out of the lineup and others ill, the Tigers weren't able to compete with the Chieftains, losing 44-21.
The first part of the season's goal has been achieved. Now the Somerset wrestlers want to see where it can take them. For the first time, the Somerset wrestling team finished among the top two teams in the Middle Border Conference dual match standings. The Spartans finished with a 6-1 MBC dual record after wins over St. Croix Central and Amery this week. The Spartans are now looking toward this Saturday's MBC tournament, which will be wrestled at Baldwin-Woodville. Spartan coach Ali Peterson said the goal is to again be the second place team behind Ellsworth.
It was a busy Tuesday night for local sports, with important games being played in basketball and hockey, while the Middle Border Conference wrestling dual meet season was also completed.
The New Richmond girls basketball team pulled out one victory with a strong second half performance last week and nearly pulled off another win with a second half comeback. The Tigers earned their first win of 2018 on Friday when they won at home against Ellsworth, 45-36. When the Tigers played at Baldwin-Woodville last Tuesday, the Tigers lost 37-35. In that game, the Tigers trailed by double digits in the second half, before making an inspired comeback in the final minutes of the game.
Nobody saw it coming. Least of all, the St. Croix Central boys basketball team. The Panthers led at halftime, 45-39, in their Middle Border Conference game at Ellsworth last Thursday, Jan. 25.
Ninety-one points. No Somerset varsity basketball team, boys or girls, has ever reached that lofty point total. Until now. The Somerset girls basketball team put together one of the best shooting performances in school history on Friday, Jan. 26, remaining unstoppable from start to finish in winning at Prescott, 91-58. The Spartans set a program record by hitting 18 three-pointers in the game. They finished 18-27 from behind the three-point arc. All five Spartan starters scored in double figures, the second time that's been accomplished this season.