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 third straight win by the St. Croix Central boys basketball team came last Thursday when the Panthers sharpened their claws on Colfax, 67-38. Colfax was able to stay with the Panthers for a few minutes. Then Central guards Nate Fern and Tyler Cody began to catch fire. They combined for 14 points in the first quarter and Central's lead reached double figures. By halftime the lead was 17 points and it continued to grow in the second quarter. Fern led the Panthers with 20 points, scoring 18 of them in the first half.
After a season of stormy seas, the Somerset hockey team has finally hit some smooth sailing. The Spartans completed their regular season schedule last Thursday by winning at Altoona, 4-1. This leaves the Spartans in a three-way tie for second place in the Middle Border Conference with a 6-4 record. Spartan coach Grant Belisle, who took over the team part-way through the season, said the players deserve credit for working through the stormy stretch of the season and hanging with the program. "The kids are giving great effort, winning the one-on-one battles.
New Richmond's girls basketball team just keeps getting closer and closer to pulling off an upset. The only way to get closer would be to knock off one of those teams with better records. Twice last week the Tiger girls came within a whisker of pulling off an upset. On Thursday the Tigers played at Durand and led for much of the game. Durand hit a prayer three-point shot with 20 seconds left to send the game into overtime.
The New Richmond boys hockey team wanted to prove it could be an opponent that's capable of reaching the state tournament. How about a team capable of reaching the Minnesota state tournament? That's exactly what the Tigers did Saturday night, beating Rochester John Marshall 3-1. John Marshall is a conference champion and is the number one seed in its region, which is usually one of the top regions in Minnesota hockey. This is New Richmond's second win over a high profile Minnesota team. The Tigers beat Virginia on Dec.
Mike Kobs can go a whole game without shooting and the Somerset boys basketball coaches don't mind. Kobs didn't take a single shot in last Thursday's game at Osceola, until the final shot of the game. Kobs grabbed an offensive rebound, put a shot high off the glass and watched as the shot bounded around the rim as the buzzer sounded.
Last Tuesday's game showed the progress the New Richmond girls basketball team has made. Last Friday's game showed the level where the Tigers want to take their game. The Tiger girls won a close game last Tuesday, beating Amery 43-42. On Friday the Tigers were hoping to pull off an upset at Osceola. They weren't able to achieve that goal, losing to the Chieftains 57-44. Osceola was playing without one of its leading players, Chelsea Muckenhirn, who suffered a major knee injury last Tuesday. The Chieftains rallied, hitting several early shots to pull ahead.
It's extremely rare to have an athlete reach Division 1 college sports. This year's Somerset football team has produced two Division 1 players. Mike Van Someren and Andrew Neumann both signed on with Division 1 football programs last week. And after playing side-by-side in Somerset's state football championship team, they will go to being instant rivals in college. Van Someren has signed on to play for the University of Wisconsin football team.
Eau Claire Memorial's nickname is the Old Abes, named after a bald eagle. On Saturday night, a Dove overpowered the team named after America's symbol. Kyle Dove scored twice in leading New Richmond's boys hockey team to a 3-0 win over Eau Claire Memorial. New Richmond's boys are now in the meat of their schedule. On Thursday the Tigers play at Baldwin-Woodville, one of the Middle Border Conference opponents that best challenged the Tigers in the opening round of the season. On Saturday the Tigers get their second chance at Hudson.
Jimmy Burke's breakaway goal 3:53 into overtime gave the Somerset hockey team a 2-1 win over Baldwin-Woodville/St. Croix Central last Thursday in Somerset. This was a tough, defensive-minded game with both teams trying to eliminate their opponent's scoring chances. Somerset ended up outshooting the Blackhawks 29-14 in the game. "We played a lot closer to what we're capable of playing defensively," Somerset coach Grant Belisle said. The overtime goal was set up by junior Shawn Walczak.
Sometimes a long bus trip home isn't so bad. Especially when it's after ending a long losing streak. The St. Croix Central girls had come close to several wins recently, but they finally completed the task last Friday, winning at Pepin 59-41. Any question on whether the Panthers would win this game was decided in the second quarter. After leading 13-7 at the end of the first quarter, the Panthers erupted for 21 points in the second quarter to lead 34-17 at halftime. The Panthers lead was more than 20 points for most of the second half.