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Top-ranked NLS sinks No. 2 Morris/CA, 89-68

Aaron Jenny, right, of New London-Spicer looks for a shot while being guarded by Jackson Henrich of Morris/Chokio-Alberta in the second half at New London on Saturday. Tribune photo by Rand Middleton1 / 2
Derek Henle, right, of New London-Spicer races Alex Erickson of Morris/Choko-Alberta for a loose ball in the first half at New London on Saturday. Tribune photo by Rand Middleton2 / 2

NEW LONDON -- After two postponements due to inclement weather, New London-Spicer showed why it's ranked No. 1 in Class AA boys basketball, topping No. 2 Morris/Chokio-Alberta, 89-68, in a non-conference game on Saturday.

The Wildcats (20-1) exploded to a 48-29 halftime lead and handed the Tigers (17-1) their first loss of the season before a crowd approaching 1,300.

"This was intense and a lot of fun," said NLS forward Justin Zylstra, who scored 16 points. "We were so fired up the first and second times to play, I'm just glad we finally got to play."

NLS burst in front 8-2 and led 25-12 on a Jayme Moten three-point basket with one minute left in the first half. The gap eventually grew to 36-15 with 7:20 remaining in the half on Moten's underhand layup.

"They got off to such a fast start," said Morris/CA coach Mark Torgerson. "There's no doubt that was the No. 1 team we saw tonight. Physically, they set the tone offensively and also with their defense, which got too many steals. We haven't played a team of that caliber. I think we were as quick, but they are stronger."

The teams could meet twice more. If they both win their respective conference title (they both are currently in first place), they would meet in the West Central inter-conference playoff and could also squiare of in Section 6A. Last year, the Tigers won the first two meetings, but NLS won the section title game 83-64.

The Wildcats were dominant inside. Center Aaron Johnson led all scorers with 22 points, plus 11 rebounds. Forward Aaron Jenny added 18 points and 11 rebounds. On the edges, Erik Tengwall supplied 19 points, six steals, six assists and six rebounds. Moten finished with 10 points and five assists.

Both teams shot 50 percent, but NLS outrebounded the Tigers 39-16.

Tigers' center Jackson Henrich managed 13 points, followed by guards Alex Erickson with 12, Cory Hennen with 11 and Corey Nohl with 10.

"Now we know what we have to do if we see them again," said Henrich.

South leader Morris/CA plays at Minnewaska Tuesday, while North leader NLS hosts second-place Albany on Thursday.

New London-Spicer 89, Morris/Chokio-Alberta 68

Morris/CA (17-1) 29 39 -- 68

NL-Spicer (20-1) 48 41 -- 89

MORRIS/CHOKIO-ALBERTA - 27-54 FG (5-13 3-pt); 9-12 FT; 16 rebounds; 17 fouls ... Scoring: Cory Hennen 11, Corey Nohl 10, Ethan Bruer 2, Alex Erickson 12, Eric Riley 5, Lincon Arnold 8, Dan Tierman 5, Jackson Henrich 13, Tyler Roske 2 ... 3-point shots: Hennen 1, Erickson 2, Riley 1, Tierman 1 ... Rebound leaders: Henrich 3, Arnold 3 ... Assist leaders: Arnold 3 ... Steal leaders: Hennen 2, Riley 2, Hernich 2

NEW LONDON-SPICER - 37-63 FG (4-14 3-pt); 11-15 FT; 39 rebounds; 12 fouls ... Scoring: Derek Henle 2, Aaron Jenny 18, Jayme 10, Erik Tengwall 19, Nathan Olson 2, Justin Zylstra 16, Aaron Johnson 22 ... 3-point shots: Moten 2, Tengwall 1, Zylstra 1 ... Rebound leaders: Johnson 11, Jenny 11, Zylstra 6, Tengwall 6 ... Assist leaders: Tengwall 6, Moten 5 ... Steal leaders: Tengwall 6

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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