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 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.
Riding the emotion of the win by the St. Croix Central boys, Central's girls played a tremendous first quarter in the second half of the double-header at Glenwood City on Saturday night. The Panther girls pounced out to a 15-4 lead in the opening 3:30 of the game. Glenwood City eventually made up that margin and this became a wild battle the rest of the way, with the Hilltoppers pulling out a 65-63 win. The score was tied 63-63 when Central's Bailey Gillis tried to draw a charging foul with 51 seconds left in the game.
The New Richmond girls is starting to roll, winning games last week over Ellsworth and Christ Household of Faith. The Tigers are now 3-1 over the past four games and it has been strong defense that has lifted the Tigers in their recent games.
The St. Croix Central wrestling team placed seventh among 12 teams in the 2005 Dunn-St. Croix/Big Rivers Wrestling Challenge, held last Saturday at River Falls High School. This is a significant step up for the Panthers,who were last in the tournament the past two years. With their finish in the tournament, the Panthers had six wrestlers earn all-DSC honors. Curtis Hinkel earned first-team all-conference honors at 112 pounds.
When St. Croix Central senior Rachel Anderson scored the 1,000th point of her varsity career, she had no idea she had reached the milestone. For Anderson, reaching this destination wasn't the important part. It was just a benefit of the daily work ethic that has made her one of the most prolific players in St. Croix Central history. Anderson, the daughter of Greg and Gloria Anderson, has started since her freshman season. Ever since, she's been a fixture in the Dunn-St. Croix Conference leaders in scoring, rebounding and shooting percentage.
Somerset's boys basketball team came up with one of the wildest wins in years by the Spartans last Tuesday, winning a triple-overtime thriller at Baldwin-Woodville 60-53. That win put the Spartans alone in second place in the Middle Border Conference, but they didn't stay there long. On Friday they struggled with their court judgement all night, playing to a tempo set by Durand's boys. Somerset ended up getting upset by Durand, 64-61. Friday's game was one of the Spartans' roughest games of the season.
The five-game winning streak of the Somerset girls basketball team came to an abrupt end last Friday when the Spartans faced Middle Border Conference leading Osceola. Playing on the Chieftains' court, the Spartans were in the game until the latter stages of the second quarter. That's when Osceola finished the half on a 14-1 run to raise their lead to 40-22. From there the Chieftains cruised past the Spartans, 65-36. The loss leaves the Spartans with a 9-5 season record and a 5-5 record in the MBC. The next game for the Spartans is this Thursday at Baldwin-Woodville.
Amery decisively took the lead in the Middle Border Conference boys basketball race last Thursday, delivering a 57-49 loss to Somerset. This is Somerset's second straight MBC loss after being upset by Osceola. Thursday's game wasn't as close as the final score might indicate. Amery was in control of the game from the start, with leads like 35-20 in the third quarter and 39-22 at the end of the quarter. The Warriors outscored the Spartans 20-10 in the first quarter.
A wild finish was capped by Osceola's Ross Benitz, whose driving layup with seven seconds left was the winning points as Osceola edged New Richmond 54-53 last Thursday. New Richmond's Tyler Brennan was fouled with 3.5 seconds remaining, but missed the front end of the bonus situation.
The race for the Dunn-St. Croix Conference championship has narrowed down to a two-team race. St. Croix Central's boys knocked off Mondovi 58-54 last Thursday. Central's boys remain in second place in the D-SC, two games behind Glenwood City, who has yet to be beaten in conference play, despite numerous close calls. Central and Mondovi were close the entire way. Central led by two points at halftime, but Mondovi took the lead in the third quarter.