Somerset’s Jena Peper

Somerset’s Jena Peper (5) pulls down a rebound over New Richmond’s Kylie Albert (3) in the second half of the Spartans’ 55-48 season opening victory over the Tigers Tuesday night, Nov. 15, in Somerset. Bob Burrows / Star-Observer photo

The Somerset girls basketball team used a late 7-0 run to pull away from New Richmond and post a 55-48 victory over the Tigers in the season opener for both teams Tuesday night in Somerset.

Julia Rybacki led a balanced Spartan attack with 15 points and Claire Anderson hit three 3-pointers and finished with 10 points while Lucy Nichols scored nine and Heather Gaikowski had eight.

Somerset was clinging to a 41-38 lead with less than six minutes remaining when Mia Olson hit a three, Rybacki scored on a drive and Gaikowski drained two free throws to widen the gap to 48-38 with 4:33 left.

New Richmond pulled to within five, 48-43, on a 3-pointer by Brooke Blaszczyk with just under three minutes remaining, but Anderson banked in a three with 2:17 left to push the Spartan lead back to eight.

A steal and a layup by New Richmond’s Elle Covey with just under two minutes remaining made it a six-point game, 51-45, but that’s as close as the Tigers could get.

After Somerset led early 7-2, neither team led by more than four until Olson’s 3-pointer gave the Spartans a 44-38 lead with 5:30 remaining. New Richmond’s largest lead was 25-21 following a steal and layup by Gaby Aune with 28 seconds left in the first half.

The Tiger lead was 25-23 at the break before the Spartans opened the second half with a layup by Rybacki and a 3-point play by Addie McGeehan. Two free throws by Aune gave New Richmond its last lead of the game, 31-30, with 14:33 remaining.

Aune scored a game-high 17 points in the loss and Blaszczyk finished with nine points– all on 3-pointers– while Stella Nielsen scored seven for the Tigers.

Somerset returns to action Thursday night at home against St. Croix Falls while New Richmond will host Prescott in its home opener Friday night.

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