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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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.
A free throw contest broke out in the Somerset-St. Bernard's girls basketball game last Friday. Or so it seemed as both teams shot more than 30 free throws in the game. St. Bernard's hit seven more free throws than the Spartans and that proved to be the difference, with St. Bernard's winning 47-41. "It was a rough and tumble game," said Somerset coach Bill Powers. "It was full-court both ways the whole game." The Spartans were hoping to make this their second win of the season.
The wrestling rivalry between Somerset and New Richmond went Somerset's way this year, though the Tigers are openly wondering what would have happened had they been at full strength. This year's match was a wild, back-and-forth match, with the Spartans prevailing 41-33. This leaves the two teams tied for third place in the Middle Border Conference with 3-2 records. Outside of a stretch of three weights between 145 and 160, the two teams traded off winning matches throughout the night. The night started at 130 pounds, where Tiger senior Jake Dalton scored a pin.
Trevor Gartner earned the 125-pound championship for New Richmond in the annual New Richmond Wrestling Invitational held on Saturday. Gartner was New Richmond's only champion in the tournament. Jake Dalton and Zach Wolff took second place in their weight brackets for the Tigers. Gartner put together a 5-0 day to win the tournament.
Winning at Mondovi has been nearly impossible for any Dunn-St. Croix Conference girls basketball team over the past decade. The odds get even tougher when you trail the Buffaloes by 15 points at halftime. The St. Croix Central girls have been overcoming the odds all season, and they did it again last Friday. The Panthers overcame that halftime deficit by outscoring the Buffaloes 22-6 in the third quarter. From there, the Panthers rolled to a 60-51 win over the Buffaloes.
For three quarters the Somerset boys basketball team found out why St. Croix Central's boys are one of the surprise teams in western Wisconsin. In the fourth quarter the Central boys found out why Somerset remains one of the few undefeated teams in the area. The Somerset and Central boys waged a classic on Saturday, with both teams showing they are still improving.
The first Middle Border Conference win has continued to be elusive for the Somerset girls basketball team. But the Spartans are coming closer to tracking down that first win. Last Friday the Spartans went to Prescott and kept themselves in contention for most of the game. The Spartans scored the first hoop of the fourth quarter to cut Prescott's lead to 31-27. Prescott then hit several shots down the stretch to finish off a 40-27 win. For the second straight game, the Spartans hit a respectable percentage of their shots, going 10-22 from the field.
After last week, the New Richmond boys basketball team can expect to see full-court pressure in every one of their games for the rest of this season. The Tigers suffered substantial losses to Hudson and Baldwin-Woodville last week and the inability to handle full-court pressure was like an open wound for the Tigers. Last Tuesday the Tigers fell behind early against Hudson and lost 61-38. The pattern was the same Thursday, when the Tigers suffered a 58-36 loss at Baldwin. Between the two games, the Tigers turned the ball over 47 times.