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Basketball: Spartans show their possibilities

Somerset senior guard Anna Rybacki (10) is shown driving to the basket during last week's game against Prescott. Dave Newman / RiverTown Multimedia

The first half of Thursday's game against Prescott showed the possibilities for the Somerset girls basketball team.

Prescott is one of the top teams in the Middle Border Conference and the Spartans played evenly with the Cardinals through the first half of Thursday's game. In the second half, Prescott was able to get on a wild run, pulling away from the Spartans for a 75-43 victory.

The Spartans also were defeated last Tuesday, Dec. 12, losing a non-conference game at St. Croix Falls, 58-36.

The Spartans saw how top teams will defend them when they faced Prescott, yet the Spartans only trailed 31-24 at halftime. Somerset then started the second half strongly, getting as close at 39-35. That's when Prescott was able to get its running game going. With the Cards scoring quickly in transition, the game turned into a rout. Prescott outscored the Spartans 36-8 in the final quarter of the game.

"Exhaustion set in," Somerset coach Cory Lindenberg said of the late-game swoon. "Our legs left us and we weren't able to execute our game plan."

Prescott came into the game with the intention of stopping Somerset leading scorers Anna Rybacki and Georgia Hammer. They were able to accomplish that, with the Somerset duo limited to eight total points. Other girls stepped up, led by Tori Gareis, who scored 12 points on four three-pointers. Dani Schachtner finished with 10 points.

Lindenberg said the team is heading in the right direction, but it is still working through some inexperience.

"The first half (against Prescott) gave us some pretty positive signs of what we can do," Lindenberg said.

The Spartans didn't play well in the first half when they played at St. Croix Falls last Tuesday. The Saints possess a team filled with tall girls and height has been a big problem for the Spartans. Somerset trailed 36-23 at halftime and finished with a 58-36 loss to the Saints.

The pace slowed down for both teams in the second half. Somerset did a much better job of rebounding in the second half, preventing the Saints from getting more second chance scoring.

Rybacki led the Spartans with eight points in the loss. Schachtner, Hammer and Tori Paulson each finished with six points.

The Spartans end their 2017 schedule with a tough non-conference opponent this Thursday. The Spartans will host Elk Mound, one of the top teams from the Dunn-St. Croix Conference in Thursday's game.

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 nearly 30 years.

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