The New Richmond boys knew their program's history against Rice Lake and that it’s been all bad.
The Tigers put those demons to rest in one great performance on Saturday. The Tigers went to Rice Lake, where they haven’t won in more than a decade and put on an amazing basketball showcase, crushing the Warriors, 83-25.
The last time New Richmond defeated Rice Lake was on Dec. 20, 2010, when 18 points from Riley Kannel and 14 from Cody Taubman led the Tigers to a 57-48 homecourt win. This was the Tigers’ first win at Rice Lake in more than 15 years in their yearly battles.
It wasn’t sure until the final decision whether the game would be played because of the winter storm on Friday and Saturday. Tiger coach Rick Montreal said his players knew the history of this one-sided yearly pairing.
“That place has not been very kind to us,” Montreal said of playing at Rice Lake. “They remember some of the painful trips there.”
Most of this year’s Tigers played last season, when they thought they should have won the season opener against Rice Lake, only to lose 74-58.
“Collectively, the kids would say the Rice Lake game was one of our most disappointing,” Montreal said.
This year, the Tigers made sure there wasn’t any more disappointment. Rice Lake hit two early 3-pointers to take a 6-5 lead. It was the last time the Warriors led.
The Tigers ran the court with quick precision, scoring time after time on fastbreaks. When the Tigers got into the halfcourt, they pounded the ball inside and scored just as successfully there. The first half finished with a dunk by Tiger sophomore C.J. Campbell, extending the Tigers’ lead to 59-17. The Tigers made 20 of 28 two-point shots in their unstoppable first half.
“We shared the ball as well as we ever have since I’ve been here,” Montreal said. “That’s the best compliment: making your teammates better.”
The Tigers were working to perfection on offense. With Campbell and Jack Stuedemann running the wings, the Tigers could get a high-percentage shot on every possession. Campbell led the Tigers with 19 points, mostly from the perimeter. Stuedemann finished with 15 points, mostly on drives to the rim.
Cooper Eral scored 14 points as the Tigers’ main threat in the paint and Joey Kidder also scored 14 points. He also led the Tigers with nine rebounds, with Stuedemann grabbing seven. The Tigers had a 46-22 rebounding edge in the game.
The Tigers continued to roll in the second half. With 10 minutes left in the game, the starters were done for the night. Montreal said he was pleased that the reserves were able to retain the defensive intensity in the final minutes to keep the Warriors down to 25 points.
When the Tigers played at Baldwin-Woodville last Tuesday they won 80-66, but the team had higher expectations of hits defense.
The Tigers led 42-27 at halftime at B-W, but the Tigers could never shaky the persistent Blackhawks. The Hawks have been developing an outside shooting arsenal and the Tigers learned that first hand as the Hawks sank 12 3-pointers in the game.
It was the Tigers’ success in the halfcourt offense that kept B-W from making this a closer game. The Tigers moved the ball with efficiency and it resulted in non-stop offensive success.
That was led by Campbell, who finished the night with 29 points.
“He did a good job of letting the game come to him. It was probably his most efficient offensive game,” Montreal said.
Kidder scored 15 points and Eral 13 points. Eral and Tim Salmon continued to be a potent rotation in the post as they combined for 21 points.
The Tigers start a string of four straight home games this Friday when they host Somerset.