Boys Basketball: NLS denied return state trip
COLLEGEVILLE -- Melrose made 14 more free throws than New London-Spicer to offset Jayme Moten's game-high 29 points and eight 3-pointers as the Dutchmen edged the defending Class AA champions 64-60 in the Section 6AA-East final Tuesday at Saint John's University.
Melrose (16-10) trailed for the majority of a fast-pace first half, but top-seeded NLS (19-9) couldn't stretch out a six-point lead and the No. 3 Dutchmen would eventually lead by one point at 25-24 at intermission.
A reason why the Wildcats couldn't pull away was the inability to get to the free-throw line. NLS visited the foul line just once in the first half, and that was in the closing seconds as Moten missed the front end of a one-and-one. NLS would then go 4-for-7 in the second half.
Melrose, on the other hand, made 27 trips to the charity stripe, making 18.
The Dutchmen never gave up the lead in the second half, but NLS stayed within striking distance behind Moten's five 3-pointers in the final seven minutes of play.
New London-Spicer would get as close as two points of the lead four times in the last seven minutes, but Brandon Sawyer would answer right back with either a three-pointer or free throws. Sawyer finished with 24 points behind three 3-pointers and cashing 9-of-11 free throws.
"They kept us off balanced with their 1-3-1 zone and man-to-man defense," said New London-Spicer coach Chad Schmiesing. "A big part of (the loss) was that when we would catch up we would foul and they did a good job of making their free throws. They shot the ball a lot better than us. We had good looks, but they just wouldn't fall."
The Wildcats trailed by eight with 2:05 remaining, but they would chip away with the help of three treys from Moten. The senior's last three-pointer came with 20 seconds left to get NLS within two at 62-60, but Sawyer then made it a two-possession game by making two free throws just moments later to seal the win.
Dallen O'Brien added nine points for New London-Spicer with eight coming in the first half. The Dutchmen also got 12 points from Scottie Stone and 10 from Austin Van Beck.
The West Central North Conference schools split two meetings in the regular season.
Melrose 64, NLS 60
Melrose (16-10) 25 39 -- 64
NLS (19-9) 24 36 -- 60
MELROSE - 21 FG (4 3-pt); 18-27 FT; rebounds not available; 16 fouls ... Scoring: Isaac Sawyer 4, Eric Terres 8, Dillon Vogel 2, Brandon Sawyer 24, Scottie Stone 12, Carter Sawyer 4, Austin Van Beck 10 ... 3-point shots: B. Sawyer 3, Stone 1 ... Rebound, assist and steal leaders not available
NEW LONDON-SPICER - 24 FG (8 3-pt); 4-8 FT; rebounds not available; 21 fouls ... Scoring: Joey Dreier 4, Brandon Zylstra 7, Austin Cuka 5, Jayme Moten 29, Dallen O'Brien 9, Nathan Olson 6 ... 3-point shots: Moten 7, Cuka 1 ... Rebound, assist and steal leaders not available