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 battle to decide second place in the Middle Border Conference had a much larger significance for the Somerset hockey team on Saturday. The Spartans were playing the game one day after finding out the former teammate Jason Plourde had died. Plourde was a senior on the 2004 Spartan team. After struggling with their emotions early in the game, the Spartans grew stronger steadily through the game, finishing with a 5-1 win over the Warriors. This was Somerset's final game of the regular season.
After the crushing loss to Durand on Feb. 4, the Somerset boys basketball team decided it needed to get back under control. The result was a pair of road wins, over New Richmond and Prescott, last week. The Spartans beat New Richmond 50-38 last Tuesday. That was followed by a 50-45 win at Prescott last Thursday. There were clearly changes when the Spartans took the court in New Richmond. The biggest change was, for the first time in recent memory, the Spartans didn't use full-court pressure. That tactic ended up working well for the Spartans.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The New Richmond Tiger Sharks swam at Chippewa Falls last Saturday, showing drastic improvements in competing against five other teams. This Saturday and Sunday the Tiger Sharks will be hosting the Western Division Meet at the New Richmond YMCA Friday Aquatic Center. Teams from Eau Claire, Chippewa Falls and La Crosse will send teams with swimmers ages 10 and under swimming on Saturday and swimmers ages 11 and older swimming on Sunday.
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.
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.
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.