Wildcats on prowl for state berth
COLLEGEVILLE -- Poor Albany. What heights would the Huskies have reached without New London-Spicer High School in their section?
The Wildcats delivered the latest blow -- this one an 87-62 knockout -- Tuesday night at Sexton Arena in a meeting for the Section 6AA-East boys basketball title.
Behind 23 points from Jayme Moten, who canned all six three-pointers he attempted, plus 21 points and 16 rebounds by Aaron Johnson, the Wildcats rolled into Friday's section final against Staples-Motley at Halenbeck Hall.
The Huskies finished 23-3 with all three losses to NLS. The same Albany athletes were on the football team that lost only twice, both times to the Wildcats, including 20-18 in the section championship.
Albany grabbed the early lead, 17-10, but the Wildcats responded with a 14-point run and were never seriously threatened. The Huskies were unable to match the NLS tempo and would trail 43-30 by halftime.
"They're hard to match up with," said Zach Noreen, the Huskies' 6-7 senior center who would finish with 15 points, nine rebounds and three blocked shots. "They have size inside and two of the best guards in the (West Central North) conference."
Moten was 7-of-8 from the floor overall and his backcourt mate, Erik Tengwall, contributed 12 points and team-highs of, seven assists and four steals.
The Wildcats (28-2) shot 50 percent from the field and 78 percent at the free-throw line with 12 turnovers.
"I was very concerned about this game," said NLS coach Matt Cordes. "Albany is a class act and proved earlier at New London, a close game, that they were good enough to beat us. We knew they had a lot to feed off so we had to come out hard. We've been kind of in a funk the last five games, but the kids played their hearts out tonight."
Moten, who quarterbacked the football team this fall to the Class AAA state championship, said the team is getting back to where it was a year ago at this time when it made a run to the state tournament.
"We really got a lift this week when some of the guys from the (2008) state championship team showed up and we just had some fun playing them in practice," said Moten.
"I had no idea I shot 6-for-6 (on threes)," he said. "When I was open, I shot."
Justin Zylstra also reached double figures with 14 points for NLS and Aaron Jenny added nine. The Wildcats outrebounded the Huskies, 50-25.
Sam Conrad also had 15 points for Albany followed by Ben Tamm and B.J. Bueckers with 10 each.
NLS 87, Albany 62
Albany (23-3).....................30 32 -- 62
NL-Spicer (28-2)................43 44 -- 87
ALBANY - 24-61 FG (8-23 3-pt); 6-11 FT; 25 rebounds; 18 fouls ... Scoring: Kyle Lieser 5, Sam Conrad 15, Ben Tamm 10, Zach Noreen 15, B.J. Bueckers 10, Adam Harlander 3, Luke Evans 2, Scott Litchy 2 ... 3-point shots: Conrad 2, Tamm 2, Noreen 2, Lieser 1, Harlander 1 ... Rebound leader: Noreen 9 ... Assist leader: Noreen 4 ... Steal leaders: Lieser 3 ... Blocks: Noreen 3
NEW LONDON-SPICER - 31-62 FG (7-12 3-pt); 18-23 FT; 50 rebounds; 11 fouls ... Scoring: Aaron Jenny 9, Jayme Moten 23, Erik Tengwall 12, Justin Zylstra 14, Aaron Johnson 21, Brandon Zylstra 6, Dallen O'Brien 2 ... 3-point shots: Moten 6, J.Zylstra 1 ... Rebound leaders: Johnson 16, J.Zylstra 11, Tengwall 6 ... Assist leader: Tengwall 7 ... Steal leader: Tengwall 4 ... Blocks: Jenny 2