NEW RICHMOND, Wis. -- The New Richmond boys’ basketball team is starting to find its groove. And Somerset found that out the hard way Thursday night, Jan. 7.

The Tigers erased a seven-point halftime deficit and had four players score in double figures to snap the Spartans’ seven-game winning streak, 69-64. It was the third straight victory for New Richmond and moved them above .500 for the first time this season at 4-3.

“They’re a good team that’s played a lot of games already and they came in hot,” New Richmond coach Ryan Leis said about the Spartans, who came in with a record of 10-2. “And then to get down early against them, down seven at halftime, I think that shows a lot of character about our team. Being able to weather the storm and come out in the second half like we did against a quality opponent like that; it was really nice to see.”

Junior Alex Jarchow posted a double-double for New Richmond with a career-high 20 points and 13 rebounds while classmate CJ Campbell finished with 19 points, nine rebounds, five assists and four blocked shots. Ben Wacker contributed 18 points while Owen Covey scored 12.

Leis said the win showed teams can’t just focus on stopping Campbell, who entered the game averaging nearly 30 points.

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“Owen got into foul trouble in the first half but came out in the second half and caught fire and was a big, big part for us. I know Jarchow had a career high tonight and maybe Ben Wacker too. CJ is a great player and is going to score a lot of points, but teams are gonna try to take stuff away from him. And you have to have those other pieces step up. And tonight, they definitely did that.”

Somerset senior Jackson Cook (21) hits a drive for two of his 15 points in the Spartans’ 69-64 loss at New Richmond Thursday night, Jan. 7. Bob Burrows / RiverTown Multimedia
Somerset senior Jackson Cook (21) hits a drive for two of his 15 points in the Spartans’ 69-64 loss at New Richmond Thursday night, Jan. 7. Bob Burrows / RiverTown Multimedia

Somerset coach Troy Wink thought the Spartans did a decent job of keeping Campbell in check, but the rest of the Tigers simply made more shots.

“They had a couple of kids step up that scored above their average,” he noted. “It was a good game, a good high school basketball game. We had some open shots we missed and they had a couple that they made. And that was the difference in a five-point ball game.”

Somerset led 36-29 at the break but it was a one-point game, 43-42, when Campbell found Wacker for a layup to put the Tigers up for good with 13 minutes remaining. It was a four-point game, 56-52 with 5:38 left before a 7-0 run extended the Tiger lead to 63-52 with just over two minutes remaining.

The closest the Spartans could get the rest of the way was when Jackson Cook hit a half-court shot at the buzzer to make the final 69-64.

Cook finished with 15 points and eight rebounds for Somerset while Melvin Medina-Ortiz and Trae Kreibich scored 17 points each.

Wink said he knew the game would be a dogfight.

“I was happy we were up at halftime,” he said. “I thought we really played well and played with high energy. Coming out of the half, the big swing was they hit a couple of shots off of offensive rebounds, It kind of got their momentum going and cut our seven point lead right down to one. But I thought our kids played extremely hard.”

Leis meanwhile said the Tigers are getting better with every game.

“We're definitely starting to find our rhythm, find our roles on the team, and are playing some good basketball, which is great to see,” he said.

Two nights earlier Campbell scored 31 points to lead four Tigers in double digits in a 76-68 victory at Baldwin-Woodville.

Covey contributed 14 points, including three 3-pointers, in addition to dishing out seven assists and making six steals, and Jarchow and Wacker finished with 11 points and six rebounds each.

The Tigers saw their three-game winning streak come to an end, however, Saturday, Jan. 9 at Menomonie with a 68-67 loss to the Mustangs. Campbell had 23 points in the loss and Covey scored 19 while Wacker finished with 16 and Jarchow had 11.

New Richmond, now 4-4 overall, hosted Ellsworth Tuesday, Jan. 12, before visiting Amery Friday, Jan. 15.

Spartans bounce back to beat Rice Lake

Somerset regained its winning ways with a 69-51 victory at Rice Lake Friday night, Jan. 8, to improve to 11-3 on the season.

Medina-Ortiz led the way with 22 points, five rebounds and five assists and Cook had 15 points and seven boards while Kreibich contributed 13 points and six rebounds and Pitcher finished with 13 points.

Last Tuesday, Jan. 7, the Spartans won their seventh straight game with a 54-44 victory over Ellsworth.

Ellsworth hit five 3-pointers in the first half to build a 25-17 lead, but the Spartans clamped down on defense and hit some key free throws down the stretch.

“I'm pretty pleased with our overall defense, holding Ellsworth to their lowest output of the season,” Wink noted. “We dialed in a little more and held them to 19 second half points and had just enough offense to get the job done.”

Medina-Ortiz led the Spartans with 21 points, six rebounds and four steals while Kreibich had 15 points, including three 3-pointers, and pulled down seven boards. Cook contributed 11 points while Pitcher had four points and four boards.

The Spartans visited St. Croix Central Tuesday, Jan. 12, before a rematch with New Richmond Tuesday, Jan. 19, at home.