COLLEGEVILLE - The 2008 state champions played like it Tuesday night in an 85-60 victory over Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa in the Section 6AA East final at Sexton Arena on the St. John's University campus.
It's a virtually new New London-Spicer team from the one that won the Class AA title a year ago in March, but last night the Wildcats looked in state tourney form.
"I don't think anyone is going to be within 20 points when they shoot like that," said Jaguars' coach Dave Montbriand.
The Wildcats made 7-of-15 three-pointers in the first half on the way to a 49-35 advantage.
The win puts NLS back at Halenbeck Hall at 8:15 p.m. Friday for the 6AA championship against either Morris Area. They have split two previous meetings this season.
The Wildcats' full-court speed and quickness on the perimeter made it tough for the Jaguars, who nonetheless finish with a school-record 24 wins.
"I think we just outran them," said NLS senior guard Jay Moten, who scored 18 points. "We like to run and we've got a number of kids we can run in so that makes it hard for some teams to keep up."
BBE took a quick 5-0 lead and was able to stay close in the early going. Jackson Illies, who finished with 13 points, hit the boards hard and Shane Weller scored seven of his nine points in the first half.
But NLS pulled away with fastbreak baskets and three-point ringers by Jayme Moten, who sank 3-of-4 attempts in the first 18 minutes.
"He was hot tonight," said his older brother, Jay. "He loves to hide out. He's so small (5-foot-10) that they can't keep an eye on him."
Weller, a senior forward, said the Jaguars felt confident coming in.
"We were the No. 1 seed," he said. "(NLS) lost most of their guys and we had almost everyone back. They're quick and their guards are fast and we made a lot of stupid passes."
Added Montbriand: "I thought our defense would disrupt them more, but their offense got a lot of good looks. More than we did."
Erik Tengwall had a fine all-around game with 23 points, 11 rebounds, five assists and three steals, each a team high.
Justin Zylstra added 11 points and 10 rebounds and Jayme Moten finished with 10 points.
His team's intensity pleased Wildcats' head coach Matt Cordes.
"The last three weeks has made the difference," said Cordes. "They've grasped what intensity does for you."
Zach Roelike with 12 points and Matt Goodwin with 10 were the only other Jaguars in double figures.
NL-Spicer 85, BBE 60
NLS (22-8) 49 36 -- 85
BBE (24-5) 35 25 -- 60
NEW LONDON-SPICER - 38-64 FG (10-20 3-pt); 19-28 FT; 45 rebounds; 16 fouls ... Scoring: Jay Moten 18, Erik Tengwall 23, Jayme Moten 10, Justin Zylstra 11, Aaron Johnson 9, Chris Tobkin 2, Jake Essler 2, Jack Hartley 2, Aaron Jenny 7, Joey Sisser 2 ... 3-point shots: Jay Moten 3, Tengwall 3, Jayme Moten 3, Jenny 1 ... Rebound leaders: Tengwall 11, Zylstra 10, Johnson 6 ... Assist leaders: Tengwall 5 ... Steal leaders: Tengwall 3
BELGRADE-BROOTEN-ELROSA - 27-53 FG (2-7 3-pt); 4-12 FT; 29 rebounds; 22 fouls ... Scoring: Mike Rodgers 8, Jackson Illies 13, Shane Weller 9, Matt Goodwin 10, Jared McCleary 6, Tyler Heinsius 2, Zach Roelike 12, Kevin Keufler 8, Connor Goodwin 2 ... 3-point shots: Goodwin 2 ... Rebound leaders: McCleary 9, Weller 5 ... Assist leaders: McCleary 3 ... Steal leaders: Rodgers 2 ... Blocks: McCleary 6