Everyone, from fans, coaches and players were expecting a close game when the New Richmond girls basketball team hosted Somerset on Friday.
The Tigers made sure that wasn't the case. Using incredible outside shooting, the Tigers roared past the Spartans, 57-23.
The shooting success for the Tigers was led by senior Kate Miller and junior Jessica Hagman. Miller sank four 3-pointers in the first half to finish with 12 points. Two of those 3-pointers were the final hoops of the first half, expanding the Tigers lead from 23-11 to 29-11.
Hagman appears to be gaining more confidence in every game, with her sophomore knee injury becoming a memory. She scored 22 points in Friday's game, including sinking all five of her attempts from the 3-point arc.
Leah DeYoung scored 10 points. She led the Tigers with eight rebounds, six coming off the offensive glass. She was also the point attacker in a newly installed 1-3-1 zone defense that completely shut down Somerset's perimeter offense. It was installed in practice last Wednesday.
"To learn to play it that well in two days was quite an effort," said New Richmond coach Chad Eggert. The Tigers have also played a 2-3 zone defense and a man defense, giving their opponents plenty to think about for each upcoming game.
Somerset was 3-0 entering the game, but Spartans were no match, scoring 11 and 12 points in the halves.
"I think we found our floor," Somerset coach Cory Lindenberg said on the level of the Spartans' play. He said the team had underlying turnover issues in the first three games, but they were overshadowed by strong rebounding and shot selection, which they didn't have Friday. "And we ended up with a stinker."
Dani Schachtner led Somerset with eight points on Friday.
Both teams now have 3-1 records for the season. New Richmond and Prescott lead the Middle Border Conference with 2-0 records. Somerset is tied with Amery and Osceola with 1-1 MBC records.
Loss at River Falls
New Richmond took on a tough rival last Tuesday when playing at River Falls. This was another in a line of closely battled contests, with the Wildcats winning 53-44.
Eggert said he was pleased with most of the aspects of the Tigers' play. He said the offense created a number of quality shots, they just weren't able to knock down enough of them. Barb Kling led the Tigers with nine points and Hagman and Audrey Feuerer both scored eight points. Feuerer led the Tigers with eight rebounds.
New Richmond and Somerset both have one game scheduled this week, playing on Friday. New Richmond will play at Baldwin-Woodville while Somerset will host Osceola.