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 perfect season for the Somerset girls basketball team continued last Thursday when they overwhelmed Ellsworth 67-31. Somerset now leads the Middle Border Conference with a 4-0 record while Ellsworth is 0-4 in conference play. Somerset is 6-0 overall. Spartan coach Bill Powers has been working with the team on playing at a high intensity level in every game, not just against teams with good records. The Spartans were up to that task in this game. They outscored the Panthers 13-2 in the opening minutes of the game. Somerset was led by point guard Kellie Ring in Thursday's game.
Last year's Middle Border Conference champions felt the fury of the New Richmond boys basketball team, which now stands alone atop this year's MBC standings. New Richmond's boys were due for a break-out game and it arrived on Friday. The Tigers went to Baldwin-Woodville and delivered a 71-29 thrashing to the Blackhawks, last year's MBC champs. The Tigers started the game hot and just continued to gain momentum until Coach Rick Montreal took out the starters midway through the third quarter.
The Somerset girls basketball team has taken the lead in the Middle Border Conference, with a historic win moving the Spartans into the conference lead. On Saturday the Spartans went to Durand, where the Spartans have never beaten the Panthers. That all changed on Saturday. The Spartans broke open a close game by outscoring the Panthers 19-8 in the third quarter. Somerset maintained its lead throughout the fourth quarter, finishing with a 65-50 win. The Spartans are now 5-0 this season.
The move into the Middle Border Conference portion of the schedule resulted in two wins for the New Richmond boys hockey team, though one of the wins was definitely a nail-biter. New Richmond and Amery locked into a defensive battle, with neither team scoring in the first two periods. Amery got a goal at the 5:32 mark and it looked like that goal might stand as the only one of the night.
Want to know how much the New Richmond girls basketball team has improved? Maybe you should ask the Middle Border Conference leaders from Somerset. Somerset's girls trailed the Tigers by as many as 10 points before being able to escape New Richmond with a 65-60 win last Thursday. For the first two-thirds of the game the Tigers, now 1-3, were the controlling team. After a close first quarter, the Tigers stepped ahead in the second quarter. At halftime the Tigers led 34-28. In the third quarter the Tigers extended the lead to 43-33 on a three-pointer by senior Kassie Kunz.
Two games in less than 18 hours, against the two Middle Border Conference teams that try to play at the fastest pace proved to be a bad combination for the Somerset boys basketball team. On Friday night the Spartans played at home against Ellsworth. The lead went back and forth through the first three quarters. Ellsworth then outscored the Spartans 11-3 in the first two minutes of the fourth quarter.
A strong penalty killing effort was critical in the Somerset boys hockey team earning its first win of the season last Thursday. The Spartans scored twice in the first eight minutes of the game. They then had to kill off 34 minutes of penalties in winning at Baldwin-Woodville, 5-1. The win gives the Spartans a 1-1 record in Middle Border Conference games.
The New Richmond wrestling team continues to gain needed experience with each successive match. And winning each of those matches doesn't hurt either. The Tigers improved to 2-0 in the Middle Border Conference by winning at Durand 50-21 last Thursday. The Tigers had one senior in the lineup at Durand, with four freshmen holding spots in the lineup. What excited Tiger coach Mark Neumann about this match was the JV portion of the night. Menomonie brought its JV wrestlers to the match. So each New Richmond JV wrestler was able to get in two matches against Menomonie and Durand opponents.
The New Richmond girls hockey coaches wondered if getting a 2-0 lead was the worst thing that could have happened to the Tigers on Monday. Playing at home against St. Bernard's, the Tigers played a strong first period, building a 2-0 lead. The Tigers couldn't match that intensity in the final two periods, especially in the defensive end. St. Bernard's was able to come back and take a 3-2 win away from the Tigers. Most of the first period was played evenly. The Tigers took a 1-0 lead with 3:28 left in the period. Chelsea Singerhouse backhanded a centering pass from the far boards.
The Somerset wrestling team is now 3-0 in the Middle Border Conference, but the heavy schedule last week finally wore down the Spartan wrestlers on Saturday. The Spartans improved to 3-0 in the MBC with a 58-18 win over Prescott last Thursday. That's quite an improvement for a Somerset team that went winless in the MBC a year ago. Last Tuesday the Spartans added two more dual meet wins when they competed in a double-dual meet at Spring Valley. Both matches were close, helping the Spartans maintain their edge. They scored a 45-36 win over St.