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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Sometimes the way a team plays is just as important as whether there is a notch put in the win or loss column. This weekend's play of the New Richmond girls hockey team is a good example. The Tigers split their games over the weekend, but that couldn't lessen the enthusiasm Tiger coach Steve Gehr showed about the team's play. On Friday night the Tigers played at Onalaska, losing 2-0. Onalaska is a team that has historically given the Tigers fits because of their physical style.
It has been a long time since the St. Croix Central girls basketball team was on the winning side of a lopsided score. The Panthers broke open their game at Elk Mound last Friday and they never stopped playing at a high level. Central led 15-4 after the first quarter and outscored the Mounders in every quarter to win 67-37. The win keeps the Panthers above .500 in the Dunn-St. Croix conference at 4-3. They are 5-4 overall. "It was definitely the best all-around game we've played all year," said Central coach Shannon Berg.
Two New Richmond wrestlers were able to advance to the second day of the Bi-State Classic Wrestling Tournament in La Crosse last week, but neither was able to finish as a placewinner. Senior Zach Wolff and sophomore Israel Neumann reached the second day of the tournament, meaning they were in the top 16 wrestlers in their weight class. Each of those Tigers then was beaten in overtime in their first match of the second day, meaning they were done for the tournament. Only five Tigers won matches in the tournament.
The growth process for the young Somerset girls basketball team isn't a consistent thing. But in games like last Wednesday's 49-24 win over Clear Lake, the Spartans give plenty of reason for optimism. Somerset's girls were sizzling in the opening three minutes of the game, rolling up a 10-0 lead at the Glenwood City tournament. The Spartans then fell into a bad pattern for the rest of the half, which was riddled with tons of turnovers and out of control play by both teams.
The first losses of the season for the Somerset boys basketball team came last week when the Spartans played in a tournament in Minnesota. The Spartans opened the Henry Sibley tournament last Wednesday playing the host school. The Spartans led for much of the game, but Sibley hit several three-pointers in the fourth quarter to pull ahead for a 67-59 win. The next afternoon the Spartans played Simley. Again the Spartans led for much of the game.
Playing top quality competition brought out the best in the New Richmond boys hockey team. Playing in the Wells Fargo Hockey Festival in Rochester, Minn. last week, the Tigers won two of their three games to take third place in the tournament. And their only loss was to a team that was undefeated and ranked tenth in Minnesota at the time. In the tournament the Tigers scored wins over Fargo South and Rochester John Marshall and were beaten by Hastings. The Tigers started the tournament last Tuesday, facing Fargo (N.D.) South.
You can bet the Hudson Raiders remember former teammate Alli Moore. Moore scored the game-winner with five minutes left in regulation as New Richmond's girls hockey team edged Hudson 3-2 last Tuesday. Moore's family moved to New Richmond before this school year. Moore had played for Hudson and now the junior is a forward on the Tigers. Her game-winning goal was a product of her hard work in front of the net. Tiger defenseman Erin Dodor put a shot on goal.
The trip to Sauk Prairie turned out to be a major misadventure for the Somerset hockey team. The hockey game didn't go all that well for the Spartans either. The Spartans arrived 90 minutes late for the game and it took the team a while to get rolling. Sauk Prairie took a 3-0 lead, then held on to beat the Spartans 3-2. First the Somerset bus took the wrong offramp from Highway 94, trying to find Sauk Prairie, which is located between Wisconsin Rapids and Madison.
Drew Baillargeon won a championship and Tyler LeRoy and Steve Vanasse each took second place in their weight divisions when the Somerset wrestling team competed in the Faribault Invitational on Dec. 18. Somerset took 10 wrestlers to the varsity tournament and took fifth place among the eight teams in the meet. Baillargeon had to win wild matches in the semifinals and finals to get his meet championship. In the semifinals at 135 pounds he was trailing a wrestler from Eastview by one in the third period. Baillargeon let his opponent go, then got the takedown to tie the match.
The Somerset girls basketball team learned a harsh lesson last Thursday. At halftime the Spartans were ahead of Baldwin-Woodville 29-17. But the Spartans' play steadily declined in the second half and the Blackhawks were able to come back for a 52-49 Middle Border Conference win. In all three of their MBC games thus far, the Spartans have played one extremely sharp half and one half that was not nearly as sharp.