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Girls basketball: NLS cools off Annandale

Tribune photo by Rand Middleton NLS 6-foot-1 center Ashlyn Geister yanks the ball free at the Cats’ offensive end in the first half for one of her 7 rebounds hemmed in by Annandale’s Kaytlin Kuefler, left, Hannah Spaulding and Sam Navratil.

NEW LONDON —  A big crowd filled the towering stands at the high school on Thursday night.

Apparently, the home-town fans sensed something good (plus, it helped the Wildcat boys weren’t also playing).

The visiting team, No. 5 (AA) Annandale, had defeated NLS 57-46 on Jan. 8  and was riding a 12-game win streak.

The Wildcats were coming around, too, winning their last six.

The verdict?

Wildcats all the way.

New London-Spicer bolted out 10-2 and spread the first-half lead to 37-16 by the break.

“That was our best half of basketball this year,” commented head coach Mike Dreier.

Taylor Thundstedt, conducting the Cat orchestra, had 24 points by intermission and ended up with 39, plus 4 assists and 4 steals.

She and her teammates  outflanked the Cardinals (9-2, 17-4) on offense and chilled the visitors’ the first half with board control.

The Cats’ rangy front of Jessica Johnson, Ashlyn Geister and Megan Thorson combined for 21 rebounds in a 37-29 advantage.

Points-wise, Geister tossed in 8 and Lydia Kieft and Brianna Fredrick 5 each.

“We’re getting bigger contributions from the entire team and not so dependent on one player,” said Dreier. “Everyone is rebounding, moving and shooting the ball with confidence.”

The Cards got 18 points from senior guard Kaytlin  Kuefler and 10 by Emmy Whitesell. Sophomore 6-2 center Hannah Spaulding, who scored 20 vs. NLS as a freshman, finished with 8.

NLS (7-3, 18-3) moves into a second-place tie in the West with Dassel-Cokato (8-4, 14-6), which lost to GSL 45-29.

NLS 65, Annandale 43

Annandale (9-2 17-4)    16  27 — 43

NLS (7-3 18-3)    37  28 — 65

ANNANDALE – 15-48 FG (3-18 3-pt); 10-14 FT; 29 rebounds; 22 fouls … Scoring: Emma Atkinson 3, Kaytlin Kuefler 18, Hannah Spaulding 8, Anne Kittok 4, Emmy Whitesell 10 … 3-point shots: Atkinson, Kuefler 2 … Rebound leaders: Maranna Gunnerson 8 … Assist leaders: Gunnerson 4 … Steal leaders: Kuefler 3 .. Blocks: Spaulding 2

NEW LONDON-SPICER –18-54 FG (7-21 3-pt); 22-31 FT; 37 rebounds; 12 fouls … Scoring: Taylor Thunstedt 39, Lydia Kieft 5, Megan Thorson 3, Brianna Fredrick 5, Ashlyn Geister 8, Olivia Setterberg 4, Jessica Johnson 1 … 3-point shots: Thunstedt 5, Kieft, Fredrick  … Rebound leaders: Johnson 8, Geister 7, Thorson 6 … Assist leaders: Thunstedt 4, Kieft 4 … Steal leaders: Thunstedt 4, Kieft 3 

Rand Middleton
Tribune photographer/videographer. Began working in radio and at weekly newspaper in Munising, Michigan, in 1972. Started parttime at West Central Daily Tribune Sept. 1974. Fulltime news/sports beginning Feb. 1979. Married to Tribune news clerk Donna (Miller) Middleton, formerly of Kerkhoven. 2 grown children. 
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