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New London-Spicer’s Taylor Thundstedt ties up Nicole McKevitt of Heritage Christian Academy as Ashlyn Geister pulls back in the first half. Tribune photo by Rand Middleton.

Girls Basketball: ‘Cats open Wild-Card with win

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NEW LONDON — Two undefeateds will meet tonight in the West Central Tribune WildCard finale.

The New London-Spicer Wildcats (8-0) dispatched overmatched but scrappy Heritage Christian Academy of Maple Grove 52-17 in a dress rehearsal for tonight’s showdown.

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Minnehaha Academy, back to this holiday hoops event for the third time, was impressive overwhelming the Willmar Cardinals 67-40.

The lopsided score caught Wildcats’ coach Mike Dreier by surprise.

“I expected it to be a toss-up,” he said. “But [Minnehaha] has an outside game and an explosive inside game, plus they play tough defense.”

Heritage Christian (0-7) was a late fill-in when several other possibilities didn’t work out. The Eagles are just getting their program established.

They came ready to play leading 6-2 and trailing just 10-8 halfway through the opening half.

Perhaps playing at less than full throttle, the Wildcats shot 31 percent and were just 6 of 31 (19 percent) on three-pointers.

Taylor Thunstedt finished with 21 points and Megan Thorson nabbed a team-high 9 rebounds.

Rebekah Walk led the Eagles with 10 points. Paige Berge pulled in 8 rebounds.

The Cats are two-time defending champion of the WildCard. Last year they tipped Willmar 46-45 OT in overtime and two years ago beat Bloomington Kennedy team. Willmar, the alternating host of this 21-year-old tournament, last won in 2009, 46-43 in overtime vs. New London-Spicer.

NLS 51, Heritage Christian 17

Heritage Christian (0-7)    11    6 — 17

NL-Spicer (8-0)    26  26 — 52

HERITAGE CHRISTIAN, MAPLE GROVE – 7-36 FG (1-6 3-pt); 2-4 FT; 34 rebounds; 9 fouls … Scoring: Natalie Nelson 2, Rebekah Walk 8, Mikaela Lien 3, Paige Berge 4 … 3-point shots: Walk … Rebound leaders: Berge 8, Lein 6 … Steal leaders: Nelson 3

NEW LONDON-SPICER – 20-65 FG (6-31 3-pt); 6-10 FT; 42 rebounds; 5 fouls … Scoring: Reiley Ness 2, Taylor Thunstedt 21, Tori King 4, Alyssa Fredrick 2, Megan Thorson 4, Bri Fredrick 3, Ashlyn Geister 7, Olivia Setterberg 7, Jessica Johnson 2 … 3-point shots: Thunstedt 5-12, Fredrick … Rebound leaders: Thorson 9, Johnson 7, King 6 … Assist leaders: Thundstedt 3, Lydia Kieft 3, Petra Lothert 3 … Steal leaders: Kieft … Blocks: Thunstedt 2

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Rand Middleton

Covers Willmar and area high schools and Ridgewater College, plus amateur baseball, stock car racing and fitness events in summer. Writes weekly column since 1980. Began working in radio and at weekly newspaper in Munising, Michigan, in 1972. Started parttime at West Central Daily Tribune Sept. 1974. Fulltime beginning Feb. 1979. Married to Tribune news clerk Donna (Miller) Middleton, formerly of Kerkhoven. 2 grown children. 

(320) 214-4334
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