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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There's a trend over the past few years that's carried through for the New Richmond girls basketball team. The trend: the Tigers don't play well on Mondays. That trend continued this week, when the Tigers lost a home non-conference game to Spooner 41-35. The Tigers had one of their coldest shooting nights of the season against Spooner, making 19 percent of their shots from the field. "A lot of them were from three feet, four feet," said Tiger coach Eric Russell of the shot selection.
The New Richmond boys basketball team did an outstanding job against Somerset leading scorers Mike Schachtner and John Anderson last Thursday. The other eight players who play for Somerset are often called "the rest" when teams plan to defend against the Spartans. But "the rest" came through in a big way for the Spartans, pulling them past New Richmond 59-41. Somerset got out to a 5-0 lead in the opening minute of the game, before Schachtner was called for two offensive fouls and sat out the rest of the first quarter.
The sharpshooters from Pepin gave the St. Croix Central boys real problems for most of the first half last Friday. The big change in the game came late in the first half. The Panther coaches decided they couldn't afford to stay in a zone defense any longer. For the rest of the game the Panthers were able to bottle up Pepin's shooters, with Central moving to a 57-44 win. The win moves the Panthers into second place in the Dunn-St.
The experience gained in the first half of the 2004-05 season is starting to pay off for the Somerset wrestling team. The Spartans swept a rare double-dual match last Thursday, beating Durand and then St. Croix Central on the Somerset mat. The night started with the Spartans beating Durand 39-27. The second round of the night resulted in Somerset topping Central 41-27. Somerset actually trailed Durand 27-21 entering the final three matches of that bout.
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.
A loss to Spring Valley last Thursday likely would have knocked the St. Croix Central boys basketball team out of contention for an outright Dunn-St. Croix Conference championship this season. Instead, the Panthers were able to pull past Spring Valley, 48-46. This leaves the Panthers and Cardinals tied with 4-2 D-SC records, two games behind conference-leading Glenwood City. Central needed to come up with a strong second half to pull out the win.
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.
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.
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.