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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It was a rough week for the New Richmond girls hockey team. The Tigers will have a tough time getting a top seed in the sectional after a 5-1 loss to Hudson last Tuesday. On Friday the Tigers met up with one of the leading contenders for the 2004 state championship, Onalaska, and came out on the losing end of a 5-3 score. Tiger coach Steve Gehr said the effort against Onalaska was a marked improvement from the showing against Hudson.
The New Richmond girls pulled off the biggest regular season win in several years last Thursday, knocking off Middle Border Conference leader Osceola on the Chieftains' home court, 58-52. This is Osceola's first conference loss of the season. The Tigers move into a tie for second place in the MBC with the win, improving their conference record to 6-3. The Tigers won this game with the same formula that has made them the hottest team in the MBC over the past few weeks.
A number of Somerset fans heard Robbinsdale Cooper players claiming they shouldn't have to play at a small school like Somerset before the two teams met last Tuesday. Imagine the comments from those players when they had to ride back to Minnesota after suffering a 7-4 loss to the Spartans. "They didn't want to be here, they didn't think we were in their league," said Somerset coach Grant Belisle. It didn't take long for the Robbinsdale players to find out how wrong they were.
Being given a 24-0 lead before having to take the mat nearly backfired on the Somerset wrestling team last Thursday. The forfeits seemed to take the edge of Somerset's wrestlers.
For the second time in five days, the Somerset girls basketball team was in a position where it had a chance to win. Last Tuesday the Somerset girls played at Ellsworth. The Panthers, like Somerset, had one win on the season. The game was as even as the records. Ellsworth scored three points in the final 30 seconds to preserve a 40-36 win over Somerset. The first quarter of the game was even, but Ellsworth made a run in the second quarter to move ahead 27-21 by halftime. It was Somerset's turn to make a charge in the third quarter.
St. Croix Central's girls basketball team has already won three times as many games as last season. And the Panthers are nowhere near being done notching wins this season. The Panther girls put together two impressive wins last week. On Friday the Panthers scored a 64-50 homecourt win against Elmwood. That came three nights after the Panthers had knocked off Spring Valley 56-44. With Central's two wins and Spring Valley's two losses in Dunn-St. Croix Conference play last week, the two teams are now tied for third place in the conference standings at 7-5.
Facing two opponents with a combined 17-3 record, the New Richmond boys basketball team showed last week it can compete with teams at the upper level of area ball. Last Tuesday the Tigers lost to Barron 41-36. Barron brought a 7-2 record into the game. On Thursday the Tigers faced Middle Border Conference leader Amery.
After three relatively easy games, the New Richmond boys hockey team gets back to some tough competition this Thursday. On Thursday the Tigers host Shattuck, a Minnesota private school that is one of the best launching pads for hockey careers in the United States. The Tigers will be facing Shattuck's varsity team, the second level team at the school.
After being one of the sharpest, most intense teams in the area for the first half of the season, the St. Croix Central boys hit the mid-winter blahs last week. The Panthers suffered their first upset of the 2003-04 season last Tuesday when they played at Pepin. The Panthers fell behind early and never could catch Pepin, losing 57-49 for their second loss of the Dunn-St. Croix Conference season. On Friday the Panthers got back into the win column, scoring a 50-38 win over a struggling Colfax program.
The Somerset boys basketball team had its hands full with a scrappy New Richmond team last Tuesday night. The Spartans broke Tuesday's game open in the fourth quarter, beating New Richmond 49-33. Somerset was led by junior Mike Schachtner, who scored 19 points. Seniors Adam Henzler and Mike Wishard each scored 10 points. New Richmond's scoring was led by junior Tyler Brennan, who tallied eight points.