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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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.
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.
It would have been hard to imagine a year ago that the Somerset girls basketball team would be pushing its way into the upper limits of the Middle Border Conference. After last Thursday's 56-46 win over Prescott, the Spartans are now 4-4 in the MBC. And with Monday's non-conference 58-24 win over Shell Lake the Spartans are now 8-4 overall. Over the previous two seasons the Spartans had won one game. The Spartans are a mix of veteran and young players and with every game they continue to blend together better.
New Richmond's girls hockey team just wouldn't give up. Three times during Friday's game Baraboo took a one-goal lead on the Tigers. Each time, the Tigers came back to tie the game, sending the game into overtime. In the overtime, Steph Kendrick won a race to a rebound and snapped it past the Baraboo goalie to give the Tigers a 4-3 victory. The win is the third straight for the Tigers this season and raises their season record to 7-7-1.
In spite of the uncooperative weather, about 100 swimmers took part in a swim meet hosted by the New Richmond Area Tiger Sharks at the Friday Aquatic Center in New Richmond on Saturday. Swimmers from the Rice Lake Swim Club, The Eau Claire Aquatics Club, The Coulee Region Rapids Swim Club from the La Crosse area, traveled to New Richmond to join the Tiger Sharks in the meet. Approximately 30 members of the Tiger Sharks swam in the meet. Two Tiger Sharks had times that qualified for the state meet during Saturday's competition.
Somerset's hockey team lived on both sides of one-sided scores in the Hayward Hockey Invitational over the weekend. In the opening round of the tournament the Spartans looked like world beaters, overwhelming a young Hayward team by an 8-1 score. That moved the Spartans into Saturday's championship game against Lakeland, the tenth-ranked team in the state. Lakeland showed it was fully deserving of that ranking, inflicting a 7-1 defeat on the Spartans. The Spartans went into the tournament with a team full of ill players.
The squeeze was applied by St. Croix Central's defense last Tuesday, as the Panther boys put away Plum City 68-34. Central's double-header that was scheduled for last Friday against Boyceville was postponed due to the heavy snows that night. A makeup date is still being worked on, but the games will not be held as a girls-boys double-header because of the difficulty of rescheduling games. The Panthers had little trouble putting away Plum City last Tuesday. The Blue Devils have struggled the past few seasons. The win keeps Central in second place in the Dunn-St.
New Richmond's girls did just about everything right. They played excellent defense, they had one of their best rebounding nights of the season and they had good ball movement on offense. Only the girls couldn't make their shots. Another night of cold shooting left the Tigers with a 42-27 loss at Amery last Thursday. The Tigers have been a closely bonded team all season. If the team is playing well, it is usually a team-wide success. Shooting has been the area which has swung most drastically this season for the Tigers.
Most of the progress made by the Somerset girls basketball team in the first half of the season had come in the offensive end of the court. Last Friday the girls matched their offensive improvement in the defensive end of the court. The result was their most impressive win of the season, knocking off Amery, 40-35. Amery had beaten Somerset 63-47 the first time the two teams met this season. "We took a big step, this was the best defensive game we played this season," said Somerset coach Bill Powers.
Talk about deciding a game early. The Somerset boys travelled to Barron last Tuesday and had the game decided before the snow had melted from their shoes.