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Friday sports: Tiger girls nearly get major upset

New Richmond senior Amanda Johnson (20) drives the baseline in the first half of Friday's game against Prescott. Johnson was one of several Tiger reserves who stood out during the game. Dave Newman / RiverTown Multimedia1 / 2
St. Croix Central senior Abby Widiker (13) scored nine points as the Panthers earned a 45-30 Middle Border Conference win at Ellsworth on Friday. Katie Davidson / RiverTown Multimedia2 / 2

The New Richmond girls basketball team nearly pulled off the biggest upset in the Middle Border Conference during the winter season on Friday.

The Tigers led undefeated Prescott 63-55 with 2:40 left in the game. Prescott amped up its full-court pressure, forcing several Tiger turnovers. The Tigers went scoreless over the rest of the game, while Prescott came back to win 66-63.

Prescott is ranked ninth in the state, but the Tigers were clearly ready for this battle. Prescott led 11-7 until the Tigers went on an 14-0 run that covered the heart of the first half. Prescott answered with deft outside shooting and the unstoppable post play of Haylee Yeager to take a 33-30 lead by halftime.

The second half featured great intensity both ways as the teams matched hoop for hoop through the first 10 minutes of the second half. The tigers then began to inch ahead, using eight straight points to build the 63-55 lead.

Then the Tigers had a couple turnovers on inbounds plays and they gave up a couple offensive rebounds and Prescott had taken the lead. The Tigers shot two 3-point attempts in the final six seconds in hopes of forcing overtime, but neither connected.

Tiger coach Chad Eggert was highly encouraged by the team’s showing.

“We played 33 minutes of excellent basketball. It was just the last three that got away from us,” Eggert said.

Prescott pressed throughout the game, and the Tigers handled it well for the most part until the final minutes. Junior Jessica Hagman said playing in a game this pressurized was important for the team’s growth.

“I feel we hadn’t had the close-game experience, especially against a team like Prescott. Next time we’ll be ready for a close game,” she said. “We’re just starting to start growing. We’re not near our full potential.”

Hagman led the Tigers with 20 points. Audrey Feuerer was red-hot for the Tigers in the first half when she got 12 of her 14 points. She also had a powerful rebounding game in dealing with Yeager and the rest of the taller Cardinal girls. Tiger point guard Barb Kling finished with 12 points.

Two players were missing from the regular Tiger rotation, which meant more time for several of the reserves. Eggert said Amanda Johnson, Taylor Dean and Maya Greenquist all played critical roles in this game. Dean rebounded well, especially on the offensive glass, while Johnson and Greenquist helped the Tigers maintain a high intensity level throughout the game.

New Richmond boys basketball

The Tigers’ struggles in non-conference games continued on Friday. The Tigers went to Menomonie and lost to the Mustangs 75-65. The Tigers are 5-0 in MBC games, but their non-conference record is 2-4.

The first half of this game was played at an incredibly fast pace with Menomonie leading 42-40 at halftime. The Tiger coaches decided to try to slow the pace down somewhat in the second half. That worked for awhile, with the Tigers taking a 51-47 lead. Menomonie then sank a pair of 3-pointers and the Mustangs began to push the game back to the pace of the first half.

Tiger coach Rick Montreal said the shots that had fallen for the Tigers in the first half weren’t falling in the second half.

The offense for the Tigers was led by juniors Jack Stuedemann and Joey Kidder, who combined for 32 points. CJ Campbell scored 11 points and Jacob Parent finished with eight points.

Montreal said this game was perfectly timed for the Tigers. That’s because the Tigers host Ellsworth in a battle for the MBC lead on Tuesday and he said Ellsworth plays an uptempo style that is strikingly similar to Menomonie’s.

St. Croix Central girls basketball

The Panther girls earned their third win of the season and the second in the MBC by winning at Ellsworth 45-30 on Friday.

Central’s girls took the lead early and they had too many scoring options for Ellsworth to contain. While Ellsworth only had four girls score and only two of them had more than three points, Central’s girls used offensive diversity to get the win. Katherine Cottrell led the Panthers with 10 points, but Abby Widiker also had nine, while Mariah Withuski and Kolbi Juen each had eight points.

“And Morgan Siler arguably had her best game this year and only had five,” said Central coach Ty Ketz.

Ketz said the girls defended well all night, helping Central to build a 24-16 by halftime.

Somerset boys basketball

Somerset and Amery always seem to play low scoring, deliberate games and in the past few years, Amery has won most of them. The style of the game was the same, but the result was different when the Spartans hosted Amery on Friday. Amery led 27-26 at halftime, but the Spartans played well in the final minutes of the game to defeat the Warriors, 49-44.

“It was not our night on offense, but we still found a way to win,” said Somerset coach Taylor Germain. “It takes a lot of mental toughness to battle through the scoring droughts and I thought we did a good job of fighting to the end.”

Somerset trailed by seven points with six minutes remaining. Senior Brennan Sheridan hit a 3-pointer from the baseline to put Somerset ahead with two minutes left. The Spartans never surrendered the lead from there. The Spartans used balance in scoring, led by Mason Cook with 10 points. Sheridan and Ty Madden both finished with nine points. The Spartans handled the pressure in the final minutes, finishing 9-11 from the free throw line.

The win puts Somerset at 2-3 in the MBC standings, where they’re tied for third place with Prescott, St. Croix Central and Baldwin-Woodville. The Spartans are 5-6 overall.

Somerset girls basketball

After a promising first half, injuries and fouls sunk the Somerset girls in their MBC game at Baldwin-Woodville on Friday. The Spartans trailed 24-23 at halftime. Things went south quickly in the second half and the Spartans ended up losing to the Hawks 62-38.

“In the first half we weren’t hitting shots, but we were getting good looks and the defense did enough for us to stay in the game,” said Somerset coach Cory Lindenberg.

Lindenberg showed that he’s also an English teacher, calling the second half “a cacophony of badness,” for the Spartans. That included foul trouble for leading scorer Georgia Hammer and minor injuries to two other Spartans that took them off the court for significant parts of the half. Hammer was the one consistent offensive threat, scoring more than half of the Spartans’ points in the game.

One of the few bright spots was sophomore post Dani Schachtner showing she’s getting back to full health after a foot injury sidelined her for several games.

“Dani has her legs under her now, now it’s just getting her feel back. She’s getting the looks and doing the right things,” Lindenberg said.

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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