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Somerset boys basketball will open WIAA playoffs at Barron

Somerset guard Will Piletich (right) drives into the paint against pressure from New Richmond's Cole Effertz during Friday's game. Dave Newman / RiverTown Multimedia

The Somerset boys basketball team will open the Division 3 WIAA playoffs next Tuesday at Barron.

The Spartans received the ninth seed at the regional seeding meeting held Saturday, Feb. 17 while Barron got the eighth seed. These teams met early in the season, where Somerset shut down the Bears, 48-31. Barron was 8-13 at the seeding meeting while Somerset was 5-14.

The Spartans are coming off a pair of losses last week which dropped their Middle Border Conference record to 2-10. The Spartans lost at St. Croix Central last Tuesday, 65-52. Their home court wasn't helpful Friday, losing to New Richmond, 58-41.

Both games showed the Spartans' heavy reliance on perimeter shooting. Sophomore guard Ty Madden scored 25 of the Spartans' 52 points at St. Croix Central. This was a game where Madden was extremely active, making strong drives to the rim. That got him to the free throw line and he made it count, hitting 10-11 free throws.

Other than Madden, the main source of scoring for the Spartans was five three-pointers.

The Spartans trailed 28-22 at halftime Tuesday, with Madden having 17 of the Spartans' 22 points in the half.

The Spartans needed the three-pointers to stay competitive with New Richmond on Friday. The Spartans trailed 28-16 at halftime, with a long three-pointer at the halftime buzzer by Madden getting them that close.

It was early in the second half the Spartans made their charge. Fueled by threes from Madden, Brennan Sheridan and Bennett Baillargeon, the Spartans cut the margin to 38-34 with 8:35 remaining. The Spartans tried to up the defensive pressure late in the game, but it opened up the court for New Richmond to outscore the Spartans 20-7 in the rest of the game.

Madden led the Spartans with 17 points and Sheridan finished with nine. Point guard Will Piletich had six assists.

The Spartans will finish the regular season this Thursday with a game at Ellsworth.

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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