New Richmond hands Ellsworth its first lossFor every run Ellsworth went on, New Richmond had an answer. The Panthers started the game up 6-0 and flustered the Tigers, but New Richmond scored seven points during a 30-second span to lead 7-6 with 3 minutes, 28 seconds remaining in the first quarter. Ellsworth went ahead 8-7 a minute later but never led again as the Tigers defeated the Panthers 55-41.
By: Chris Harrell - Red Wing Republican-Eagle, Pierce County Herald
For every run Ellsworth went on, New Richmond had an answer.
The Panthers started the game up 6-0 and flustered the Tigers, but New Richmond scored seven points during a 30-second span to lead 7-6 with 3 minutes, 28 seconds remaining in the first quarter. Ellsworth went ahead 8-7 a minute later but never led again as the Tigers defeated the Panthers 55-41.
“We were there for three quarters with these guys,” Ellsworth head coach Rich Powers said. “We missed some opportunities on the offensive end. We’ve got to be more efficient. Really, it was that one quarter that got away from us.”
The Panthers’ offense had difficulty generating scoring chances outside of junior Chrystian Kulow. Kulow finished with a team-high 17 points but New Richmond’s zone traps kept him from getting into a comfort zone.
“It was just a rhythm thing,” Kulow said. “We weren’t executing very well.”
Ellsworth was also without senior Alex Campbell, one of the team’s best athletes and scorers. Campbell recently had surgery to repair the meniscus in his knee. He’s expected back within the month.
“We miss his speed out on the floor,” Powers said, “his defensive presence. He’s a huge contributor.”
Campbell is one of the Panthers’ tallest players as well, so an already undersized team allowed the Tigers to control the offensive glass. The 6-foot-5 Joe Deppe was especially effective against Ellsworth, finishing with a game-high 20 points for New Richmond.
“It got us a little on the glass, that’s for sure,” Powers said of New Richmond’s height advantage.
“It was tough to match up,” Kulow added. “We need to be more physical down low.”
Ellsworth garnered the early lead Tuesday night with defensive intensity but turnovers and offensive rebounds gave New Richmond a 13-11 lead at the end of the first quarter. Kulow drilled a deep 3-pointer as the buzzer sounded for the end of the opening quarter.
The second quarter was sprinkled with mistakes by both teams as the Tigers extended their lead to 18-11 in the first minute. But Kulow helped bring the Panthers within 18-17 on consecutive baskets with 3:30 remaining in the half. New Richmond led 22-18 at halftime.
“I can live with giving up 22 points,” Powers said. “The problem is we couldn’t score offensively.”
Ellsworth came out for the second half with the same defensive intensity but was overanxious on the offensive end. Two steals by the Tigers made it a 25-18 game at 5:22 of the third quarter.
“We just get too fired up and get a little crazy,” Kulow said. “We just need to slow down and run through our offense. That’s how we get open shots.”
Sophomore Nick Taranto, who finished with 11 points, tallied the Panthers’ first points of the second half and added a layup to pull Ellsworth within 25-23 with 3:46 left. Again, New Richmond responded as the Tigers went on an 8-2 run and never looked back. They led 33-27 at the end of the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, New Richmond was dominant. The Tigers held Ellsworth without a basket for the first four minutes while establishing a 46-27 lead.
“We were giving them second opportunities and we can’t do that,” Powers said. “We gave up too many offensive rebounds and they were at the free-throw line too much.”
New Richmond shot 19 free throws to Ellsworth’s eight.
The Panthers travel to River Falls Tuesday and will aim to fix some of the issues that plagued them against New Richmond.
“We’ll get there,” Powers said. “We’re young. We’ll keep working. It’s a work in progress.”