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 New Richmond boys hockey team starts WIAA playoffs with momentum on its side. The Tigers knocked off Hudson, then ranked third in the state, last Thursday by a 4-3 score in the final regular season game for the Tigers. This Friday the Tigers start the WIAA sectionals with a home game against Amery at 7 p.m. The Tigers are the third seed in the regional and Amery is the sixth seed.
The Tiger girls hockey team is hoping to refind its spark before the WIAA girls playoffs begin on Feb. 25. The regular season came to a less than auspicious end for the Tigers on Saturday, when they lost on their home ice to Superior, 2-0. The Tigers now await the results of Sunday's WIAA seeding meeting. New Richmond is in the same sectional as Superior, Hudson and Onalaska.
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.
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 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.
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.
Amery decisively took the lead in the Middle Border Conference boys basketball race last Thursday, delivering a 57-49 loss to Somerset. This is Somerset's second straight MBC loss after being upset by Osceola. Thursday's game wasn't as close as the final score might indicate. Amery was in control of the game from the start, with leads like 35-20 in the third quarter and 39-22 at the end of the quarter. The Warriors outscored the Spartans 20-10 in the first quarter.
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.