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Thursday’s Results: Tiger boys overcome the weather and B-W

Junior Cooper Eral (right) leads a fastbreak for the Tigers in the second half of Thursday's win over Baldwin-Woodville. Dave Newman / RiverTown Multimedia

The foreboding weather Thursday evening was as cold as the first half play of the New Richmond boys basketball team.

But unlike the thermometer, the Tigers heated up in the second half. After trailing Baldwin-Woodville 23-21 at halftime, the Tigers outscored the Hawks 34-18 in the second half to earn a 55-41 Middle Border Conference win.

Two players had especially effective stretches to turn the game in the Tigers’ favor in the second half. It started with junior guard Joey Kidder. He scored the first six points of the half. After opening the half with a hoop, Kidder was fouled on twice after grabbing a rebound and going end-to-end to the rim. The four successful free throws gave the Tigers a 27-23 lead and they never trailed again.

Baldwin-Woodville made a charge with eight minutes left, cutting the Tiger lead to seven at 42-35. That’s when Effertz stepped up. He hit a hoop, then a 3-pointer. He then drove to the rim, hitting the shot and the ensuing free throw. His eight-point run sealed the victory.

If there’s an apt description for Effertz, he might be the team handyman. He’s been on the varsity since he was a freshman. He’s played every position from one to five and the coaches know they can plug him in anywhere there’s a problem.

“When it comes to being able to shoulder a load offensively, he’s always had a knack for that,” Tiger coach Rick Montreal said of Effertz. Montreal said Effertz is a tough matchup because he can post up against smaller players and he can drive around taller defenders.

Effertz said with his experience, he tries to fit into whatever need the team has.

“I’ve played every position on the court. Wherever the team needs me, I’ll step up,” he said.

Effertz said he isn’t a vocal leader, but he tries to use his experience to read how the coaches want the team to play, by slowing down or speeding up the pace of the action. He said he also tries to help give the team a little attitude.

“I like to bring a little swagger. We’re fighting for a conference championship. The coaches have told us we’ve earned that swagger,” he said.

Effertz said with a smile that basketball is clearly his favorite sport.

“I love basketball so much. It’s just a fun experience,” he said.

Effertz finished the game with 10 points and Kidder led the Tigers with 17 points. Kidder led the Tigers with four assists. Effertz had seven rebounds to lead the team. Guard Jacob Parent had six rebounds, including two key offensive boards on consecutive misses when the Tigers were pulling away in the second half.

“He’s become, in our league, a bonafide threat in the post. That gives us better balance,” Montreal said.

Both teams struggled in the first half. Montreal thought it was likely due to the lack of practice and playing time because of the frigid weather the past two weeks.

The win improves the Tigers’ MBC record to 9-1. Ellsworth and Prescott are tied in second place at 6-3. The Tigers play their final home game of the regular season next Tuesday at Ellsworth. That is followed by home games against Somerset, St. Croix Central and Osceola to end the regular season.

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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