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Girls Basketball: NLS downs Bulldogs in opener

New London-Spicer's Shea Oman dashes away for a fastbreak in Tuesday's season opener against Paynesville at New London-Spicer High School. Jake Schultz / Tribune1 / 7
New London-Spicer's Payton Mages shoots with a hand in her face in Tuesday's season opener against Paynesville at New London-Spicer High School. Jake Schultz / Tribune2 / 7
New London-Spicer's Ashton Engelke dribbles past Paynesville defenders in Tuesday's season opener at New London-Spicer High School. Jake Schultz / Tribune3 / 7
New London-Spicer's Erin Knisley and Paynesville's Sophie Strand jump for the tip off of Tuesday's season opener at New London-Spicer High School. Jake Schultz / Tribune4 / 7
New London-Spicer's Erin Knisley and Paynesville's Sophie Strand prepare to jump for the tip off of Tuesday's season opener at New London-Spicer High School. Jake Schultz / Tribune5 / 7
New London-Spicer's Erin Knisley looks to knock down a shot in Tuesday's season opener against Paynesville at New London-Spicer High School. Jake Schultz / Tribune6 / 7
New London-Spicer's Grace DeSchepper looks to make a pass in the post during Tuesday's season opener against Paynesville at New London-Spicer High School. Jake Schultz / Tribune7 / 7

NEW LONDON — With only one returning starter from last year's team, it's easy to think New London-Spicer's girls team could take a step back this year. It's OK to think that, it's just wrong.

New London-Spicer quieted the skeptics with a 79-18 win against Paynesville where the Wildcats scored with all 11 healthy varsity players. Mackenzie Rich led the way with 13 points and Emma Hanson scored 11. Hanson also finished with eight rebounds, tied with Grace DeSchepper.

"Everybody did get a chance to contribute," said NLS head coach Mike Dreier said. "It was very encouraging. We had a lot of balance and a lot contributions."

Senior guard Shea Oman took a backseat in terms of scoring but was a key facilitator for the young team, logging eight points, eight assists and five steals.

Brynn Johnson scored a team-high seven points for Paynesville.

NLS will try to keep the strong start going with a tough matchup against No. 6 Eden Valley-Watkins at 7:15 p.m. Thursday in Eden Valley.

"It's going to be a tough, tough game," Dreier said. "If we can hang with them then maybe we are for real."

NLS 79, Paynesville 18

Paynesville (0-1) 7 11 — 18

NL-Spicer (1-0) 45 34 — 79

PAYNESVILLE - Scoring: Sierra Hoekstra 3, Brynn Johnson 7, Mari Shumaker 2, Sophie Strand 3, Grace Utsch 1, Kylee Everson 2 ... 3-point shots: Johnson 1 ... Rebound leader: Johnson 5, Molly Stang 5 ... Assist leader: NA ... Steal leader: Johnson 3

NEW LONDON-SPICER - Scoring: Ashton Engelke 6, Shea Oman 8, Mya Krause 2, Mackenzie Rich 13, Emma Hanson 11, Payton Mages 6, Maya Larson 4, Grace DeSchepper 8, Ava Kramer 8, Courtney Caskey 9, Erin Knisley 4 ... 3-point shots: Engelke 1, Rich 2, Hanson 1, Mages 1 ... Rebound leader: Hanson 8, DeSchepper 8, Knisley 7 ... Assist leader: Oman 8, Mages 4 ... Steal leader: Oman 5, Hanson 3, Rich 3

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