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Tribune photo by Brooke Kern New London-Spicer’s Joey Dreier drains a 3-pointer as Rocori’s Mac Mueller defends on Monday in New London. Dreier led the Wildcats with 31 points.

Boys basketball: Rocori clips Wildcats

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NEW LONDON — New London-Spicer battled back after falling behind by 12 in the opening minutes of the game but Rocori’s strength inside and clutch free throw shooting late helped the Spartans hold off the Wildcats 77-72 in a non-conference game Monday.

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Rocori’s Mac Mueller scored a team-high 28 points and Jonah Eisenshenk had 26 points and 13 rebounds.

The pair were mostly responsible for the Spartans’ 39-17 rebounding advantage.

NLS’ Joey Dreier hit five 3-pointers and finished with a game-high 31 points.

The Wildcats’ Aaron Ruter had 15 points, 7 assists and 4 steals. Dreier led the Wildcats with 6 rebounds and he also had 4 assists.

The Wildcats, now 9-8, play next at home against Mound Westonka at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

The Spartans evened their record at 7-7 and resume their Central Lakes Conference schedule against Willmar at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in Cold Spring.

The Spartans opened up a 15-3 lead to start the game but the Wildcats chipped away at the margin and had the lead down to seven points at halftime.

Back-to-back steals and layups by Dreier and Shane Zylstra put NLS ahead 59-58 with about six minutes left in the game.

But Rocori responded with a couple of buckets to retake the lead and NLS couldn’t get back on top. The Spartans hit 6 of 8 free throws in the final minutes — including 4 of 4 foul shooting by Eisenshenk — to lock up the victory.

Mueller scored 17 of his points in the first half and Eisenshenk hit 9 of 10 free throws in the second half, during which he netted 14 of his points.

Rocori 77, NLS 72

Rocori (7-7)    38 39 — 77

NLS (9-8)    31 41 — 72

ROCORI – 30-52 FG (3-11 3-pt); 14-22 FT; 39 rebounds; 19 fouls … Scoring: Mac Mueller 28, Jonah Eisenshenk 26, Brad Fabel 8, Jeron Terres 4, Marshall Wirtzfeld 2, Cole Field 2, Zach Templin 7 … 3-point shots: Mueller 1, Templin 1, Eisenshenk 1 … Rebound leaders: Eisenshenk 13, Mueller 6 … Assist leaders: Mueller 8, Eisenshenk 4 … Steal leaders: Mueller 3

NEW LONDON-SPICER – 22-60 FG (9-25 3-pt); 19-33 FT; 17 rebounds; 19 fouls … Scoring: Joey Dreier 31, Aaron Ruter 15, Ryan Vraa 10, Nick LaPatka 5, Brett Olson 5, Shane Zylstra 4, Trent Boie 2 … 3-point shots: Vraa 2, Dreier 5, Olson 1, Ruter 1 … Rebound leaders: Dreier 6, Zylstra 4 … Assist leaders: Ruter 7, Dreier 4 … Steal leaders: Ruter 4, Zylstra 3

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