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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The Somerset boys hockey team reminded everyone that the Spartans are still a dangerous team when they took Chippewa Falls to overtime last Tuesday. Chippewa Falls scored a power play goal in overtime to escape the penalty-packed game with a 4-3 win over the Spartans. The Spartans faced an even tougher test when they played at Holy Angels in Richfield last Thursday. Somerset coach Dan Gilkerson said he thought the Spartans played capably, but they were still defeated by Holy Angels, 7-1.
With 19 lifters who have already qualified for the 2018 state meet, this looks like another bountiful season for the New Richmond High School powerlifting team. And with three more meets where Tiger lifters can qualify for state, the Tigers are hoping they can nearly double that number of state qualifiers before the state meet in March.
The sheer volume of athletic players that the St. Croix Central boys basketball team can throw at opponents was the overriding factor in the Panthers' two Middle Border Conference wins last week. In both games, the Panthers wore down the competition. They were able to win at Somerset last Tuesday, 52-28. That was followed by a 65-43 win at Amery Friday, Jan. 19. The Panthers have two key MBC games up next. They will play at Ellsworth on Thursday, Jan. 26 before hosting New Richmond next Tuesday.
The New Richmond boys hockey team and the St. Croix Central girls basketball team took big steps toward Middle Border Conference titles on Tuesday night. They did it in vastly differing ways. The Tiger skaters put together one of the most dominant performances in the history of their rivalry with Somerset, defeating the Spartans 10-1. St. Croix Central remains unbeaten in the MBC, but the Panthers faced their biggest challenge of the season. The Panthers trailed well into the second half, but a late charge earned them a 46-41 win over Prescott.
Because of cancellations, the St. Croix Central wrestling schedule is back-loaded with Middle Border Conference matches. The Panthers have four of their seven MBC matches in the final two weeks of January. The first of those, and likely their best shot at another MBC win came when the Panthers hosted Prescott Thursday, Jan. 18. The match came down to a couple pivotal bouts, which Prescott won, to pull out a 43-33 win over the Panthers.
The Somerset wrestling team is hoping to achieve something that hasn't been done by any Spartan team since Somerset became a member of the Middle Border Conference. Somerset became a member of the MBC for the 2002-03 school year. Since then, no Spartan wrestling team has finished among the top two teams in the MBC standings. The Spartans went a long way toward achieving that goal by winning at Baldwin-Woodville last Thursday, 41-33. The win increases the Spartans' MBC record to 4-1.
The recent improved play by the New Richmond boys basketball team netted a win for the Tigers Friday, Jan. 19 against Somerset. But the game the Tigers will lament is last Tuesday's contest at Ellsworth. The Tigers led by six points late in the game, but couldn't finish off the win, with Ellsworth coming back to take a 64-62 decision. Last week's results leave the Tigers with a 4-3 record in the Middle Border Conference, starting this week. The Tigers are 5-9 overall.
With a losing streak that has now reached 10 games, the New Richmond girls basketball team is looking for answers. The biggest thing that has held the Tigers back in this stretch is consistency. That issue was reflected again in their two losses last week. The Tigers showed some flashes of offensive success in last Tuesday's home game against Somerset. But the defense struggled all night, unable to deal with Somerset's speed and outside shooting in a 76-58 loss.
There was a sizzling sound emanating from the New Richmond High School gym last Tuesday. It was the nets on the hoop at whichever end of the court the Somerset girls basketball team was aiming at. The Spartans put on an incredible shooting display, scoring 40 points in the first half and finishing with a 76-58 win over the Tigers.
The final dual matches of the New Richmond wrestling season will be held in the upcoming days. That sets the Tigers' sights on the postseason. The Tigers are coming off a strong performance Thursday Jan. 18, where they defeated Amery, 50-30. That win put the Tigers' record in Middle Border Conference matches at 3-2. The Tigers finish the regular season with a dual match at Osceola on Thursday and a home dual match against Ellsworth next Tuesday. That's the makeup of a previous postponement.