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 Somerset Spartans are one game away from the WIAA state girls basketball tournament. The Spartans advanced to the sectional championship game by defeating defending WIAA Division 3 state champion Hayward, 64-58, in Thursday's sectional semifinal played in New Richmond. Somerset will face Bloomer in the sectional title game. That game will be played on Saturday at 7 p.m. at Menomonie High School. Bloomer topped Elk Mound 54-49 in overtime in the other sectional semifinal game.
The Western Wisconsin Stars were knocked out of the WIAA playoffs, but it took the top-ranked team in the state to do it. The Stars lost to Hudson 7-2 in the WIAA sectional semifinals at Gornick Arena in Hudson last Tuesday. The Raiders were upset in the WIAA sectional championship game on Saturday, losing to second seeded Hayward, 5-4. The season ends with the Stars owning a 12-9-1 record. That’s a major improvement over the 6-13-2 record the team held the previous season.
Hopes were high for the New Richmond boys basketball team when the 2016-17 season began. Things haven’t gone quite the way the Tigers had planned. But last Monday, in their Middle Border Conference finale, the Tigers played the game fans had hoped to see from them all season. The Tigers dominated Amery from the start, then calmly withstood Amery’s best attempts at comeback to win 61-46. The win gives the Tigers a final 6-8 record in the MBC, leaving them in fifth place in the final standings.
There is reason for optimism as the New Richmond girls basketball team looks to the future. The Tigers saw their season come to an end last Tuesday when they lost in the opening round of the WIAA Division 2 regional tournament. They were defeated by the River Falls Wildcats, 35-28. The Tigers end with a 4-18 record. In many ways, this was a season of learning and growth for the Tigers. They were one of the youngest teams in the area. Mallory Kelly was the only senior on the Tiger roster.
The state’s top-ranked team put an abrupt end to the Somerset boys hockey season last Tuesday. Somerset played a scoreless first period with the top-ranked Hudson Raiders. But Hudson poured on the goals late in the game to apply a 10-0 beating to the Spartans in the WIAA sectional semifinals. Somerset finishes the season with a 17-9 record.
Perhaps the Somerset boys basketball team should petition for entry into the Heart O’North Conference. One night after suffering a crushing overtime loss against Baldwin-Woodville last Monday, the Spartans showed great resiliency, bouncing back to defeat Chetek-Weyerhaeuser 59-46. The Spartans ended their regular season last Thursday, losing their final home game of the season to Ellsworth, 74-60.
The yoyo-like season of the St. Croix Central boys basketball season produced most of its ups during the Panthers’ Middle Border Conference schedule. The Panthers finished tied for second place in the MBC with a 10-4 record. Overall, the Panthers ended the regular season with an 11-11 record.
A successful basketball season has come to a close for Team Bridge, the local division of Special Olympics Wisconsin. Team Bridge members participated in their district basketball skills competition on Feb. 19 in Menomonie. Team Bridge is one of 16 teams from the region that participated in the competition. Athletes participated in three different skill sets during the competition (shooting, dribbling and passing). They are scored based on the outcomes of each of those skill sets.
The New Richmond and Somerset boys basketball seasons for 2016-17 came to an end on Tuesday. The New Richmond boys lost in the opening round of Division 2 regional tournament action. The Tigers lost at Holmen, 74-54. Holmen will next face top-seeded La Crosse Central on Friday.
The Somerset girls basketball team is headed back to the WIAA sectional tournament. Somerset advanced to the 2017 sectional tournament with a 58-43 homecourt win over St. Croix Central on Saturday night.