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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One of the most improved aspects of area basketball in the early stages of this season was the defensive progress the St. Croix Central girls has made. The improvement has slipped badly in recent games. The Panthers lost a pair of Dunn-St. Croix Conference games last week, giving up 145 points in the process. Last Friday the Panthers were beaten on their home court by Elk Mound, 66-53. Three nights earlier the Panthers had travelled to Boyceville, where they were pounded by the Bulldogs, 79-49. St.
A 12-0 run in the final three minutes of the game pulled out this one for the Somerset boys basketball team. Baldwin-Woodville held a 39-38 lead, then stalled two minutes off the clock to hold the lead with three minutes left in the game. Somerset then took the lead with a Mike Wishard shot with 3:05 left in the game.
Being upset by a winless team was bad enough. Then to have the school bus break down during the trip home on one of the coldest nights of the winter stretched the night's happenings from bad to surreal for the St. Croix Central girls basketball team. The Panthers were knocked off by winless Plum City 54-53 last Thursday. The Panthers went into the game in third place in the Dunn-St. Croix Conference. But they are a year removed from being one of the teams that was hoping to pull off this kind of upset. "It's certainly come full circle," said Central coach Shannon Berg.
Carbon monoxide detectors are meant to save lives. But what happens when your carbon monoxide detector fails to work? Sharon Fall of New Richmond is lucky to be alive after the detector in her home failed to work during a cold day in January. Fall had just returned from a doctor's appointment and was having a cup of coffee at home. She was feeling quite sleepy and nearly sat down to take a nap in her husband's recliner.
It was a rough week for the New Richmond girls hockey team. The Tigers will have a tough time getting a top seed in the sectional after a 5-1 loss to Hudson last Tuesday. On Friday the Tigers met up with one of the leading contenders for the 2004 state championship, Onalaska, and came out on the losing end of a 5-3 score. Tiger coach Steve Gehr said the effort against Onalaska was a marked improvement from the showing against Hudson.
The New Richmond girls pulled off the biggest regular season win in several years last Thursday, knocking off Middle Border Conference leader Osceola on the Chieftains' home court, 58-52. This is Osceola's first conference loss of the season. The Tigers move into a tie for second place in the MBC with the win, improving their conference record to 6-3. The Tigers won this game with the same formula that has made them the hottest team in the MBC over the past few weeks.
A number of Somerset fans heard Robbinsdale Cooper players claiming they shouldn't have to play at a small school like Somerset before the two teams met last Tuesday. Imagine the comments from those players when they had to ride back to Minnesota after suffering a 7-4 loss to the Spartans. "They didn't want to be here, they didn't think we were in their league," said Somerset coach Grant Belisle. It didn't take long for the Robbinsdale players to find out how wrong they were.
For the second time in five days, the Somerset girls basketball team was in a position where it had a chance to win. Last Tuesday the Somerset girls played at Ellsworth. The Panthers, like Somerset, had one win on the season. The game was as even as the records. Ellsworth scored three points in the final 30 seconds to preserve a 40-36 win over Somerset. The first quarter of the game was even, but Ellsworth made a run in the second quarter to move ahead 27-21 by halftime. It was Somerset's turn to make a charge in the third quarter.
St. Croix Central's girls basketball team has already won three times as many games as last season. And the Panthers are nowhere near being done notching wins this season. The Panther girls put together two impressive wins last week. On Friday the Panthers scored a 64-50 homecourt win against Elmwood. That came three nights after the Panthers had knocked off Spring Valley 56-44. With Central's two wins and Spring Valley's two losses in Dunn-St. Croix Conference play last week, the two teams are now tied for third place in the conference standings at 7-5.
Facing two opponents with a combined 17-3 record, the New Richmond boys basketball team showed last week it can compete with teams at the upper level of area ball. Last Tuesday the Tigers lost to Barron 41-36. Barron brought a 7-2 record into the game. On Thursday the Tigers faced Middle Border Conference leader Amery.