Girls Basketball: Dreier reaches 900 wins in NLS victory
NEW LONDON — Mike Dreier holds court after every New London-Spicer win, graciously shaking hands with fans making their way for the exit. On Tuesday night, though, that line of well-wishers seemingly never stopped.
The long-time Wildcat coach earned win No. 900 with a 65-41 victory over Montevideo. More than 40 years after his first victory, a 29-22 win over Kimball Dec. 12, 1978, Dreier walked around the gym at New London-Spicer High School celebrating a milestone with dozens of former players, family members, and friends.
"It's a very special moment," said Dreier, now with a career record of 900-169. "It's one of those things I can share with so many people, so many of the ex-players that have been here, it makes it really special. A lot of people came from a long ways away to share the night. Wow. It makes me think we did something right."
The Wildcats opened up the game with a 33-16 first half, ceding the floor to all former players in attendance to play a round of Lightning, a shooting game. Players from nearly every step of Dreier's career showed what skills they have left.
"Well, a lot of them got us a lot of success," Dreier said, laughing, about the quality of shooting. "Give them credit, now they're mothers."
The Wildcats kept up the action after the halftime festivities, rolling with a 32-25 second half score line. As was familiar to scores of former Wildcats, Dreier counted on scoring contributions from nine different current players, including Payton Mages who led the game with 16 points.
It was a night for the present but one of reminiscence, too. Throughout the game, former players looked back at their playing days from Dreier's 40-year coaching career. The two-time state champion and six-time runner-up certainly has the accolades to mark a successful career. The conversations were less about wins, though, and more about memories. During his thank you-speech, following presentations by NLS activities director John Vraa and former player Amber (Hanson) Barrett, Dreier credited his family as well as the families of former players for allowing him to share those moments.
"So many former players talk about special times, playing well, and going the right thing," said Dreier, a Burnsville native and Hamline University graduate. "Seeing all of the people here tonight is great. I'm just a small part of what makes this thing work.
"And thank you to my family for putting up with me and giving me the opportunity to share with all of my players."
NLS 65, Montevideo 41
Montevideo (3-6) 16 25 — 41
NLS (8-3) 33 32 — 65
MONTEVIDEO - Scoring: Molly Reeves 4, Kamren Saue 10, Kari Fragodt 5, Jasmyn Kronback 9, Greta Rongstad 4, Sydney Zindel 9, Livia Gades 1 ... 3-point shots: Saue 2, Kronback 1 ... Rebound leader: NA ... Assist leader: NA ... Steal leader: NA
NEW LONDON-SPICER - Scoring: Ashton Engelke 2, Shea Oman 14, Mackenzie Rich 6, Emma Hanson 3, Payton Mages 16, Grace DeSchepper 12, Ava Kraemer 2, Courtney Caskey 5, Erin Knisley 4 ... 3-point shots: Oman 1, Hanson 1, Mages 1 ... Rebound leader: Kraemer 5, Sam Johnson 4, Courtney Caskey 4 ... Assist leader: Oman 8, Hanson 3, Rich 3 ... Steal leader: Oman 4, Mages 4