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Spartans match last season's win total

Melvin Medina Ortiz (11) works the ball upcourt against heavy pressure in last week's game against Rice Lake. Dave Newman / RiverTown Multimedia

The Somerset boys basketball team has already matched last season's win total.

And at 4-4 this season, the Spartans are building in the right direction. The Spartans are hoping to add to their win total this week when they play in the annual Glenwood City holiday tournament. The Spartans will face the host team at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 27. The Spartans will face unbeaten Clear Lake at 3 p.m. on Thursday.

The Spartans recorded their fourth win of the season last Thursday when they went to Boyceville and won 66-58. This game reflects the difference in the Spartans this season. They did not play their best game. But in the final minutes, they pulled together to overtake the Bulldogs and get the win.

The value of senior Bennett Baillargeon came to the forefront against Boyceville. Baillargeon is one of the team's best defenders. He's also one of the most versatile. In this game, the Spartan post players were struggling to stop Boyceville's post player, who finished with 23 points. Baillargeon was the only post player on the court in the six-man rotation the coaches utilized in the final stretch to lock down the win at Boyceville.

Baillargeon was joined in that rotation by juniors Brennan Sheridan and Will Piletich, sophomore Ty Madden and freshmen Melvin Medina-Ortiz and Trae Kreibich. It was the most varsity action either of the freshman has seen, though Medina-Ortiz has been working his way into the rotation for several games. He finished with 12 points at Boyceville.

"He gave us a spark off the bench," Germain said, saying both freshmen will still split time between the varsity and JV teams.

Sheridan appeared to find his shooting stroke in last week's games. He scored 10 points against Rice Lake and followed that with 16 points against Boyceville. That included hitting all 10 of his free throw attempts. Twice he was fouled while attempting three-point shots, hitting all three free throws.

"His main weapon is his shot," Germain said of Sheridan. "We want him taking lots of shots."

Madden scored 10 points, with six of them coming in the final five minutes to help Somerset establish a lead.

The Spartans ran into a superior team last Tuesday when they hosted Rice Lake, losing 68-35. The Spartans played an uptempo defense that gave Rice Lake trouble. The score was 23-17 before Rice Lake made a charge late in the half to lead 33-17 at the break.

"For the first 14 minutes or so, we were in it," Germain said.

Madden led the Spartans with 10 points. Liam Salmon scored seven points in the second half for the Spartans.

Dave Newman

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 more than 30 years.

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