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Balanced attack has NLS in final

ST. CLOUD -- It's a lot easier to win a battle when only one player is supplying most of the arsenal. But when all five are armed and dangerous, you just hope their aim is off.

New London-Spicer has had five different players lead them in scoring this season. And on any given night, the Wildcats can have a double-digit frenzy.

NLS (28-2) will again be looking for that balanced attack to lead them into the state tournament when they take on Staples-Motley (24-5) in the Section 6AA championship at 6:30 p.m. today at St. Cloud State's Halenbeck Hall.

"They are very explosive and can put up points quickly with both their offense and defense," said Staples-Motley coach Lynn Peterson. "We need to keep spurts to a minimum."

Easier said than done when a team has put 90-or-more points on the board four times, including the century mark once.

"I just feel that we need to play well all-around," Peterson responded. "They are a talented team with great balance. We just need to try to play everyone." 

But the Cardinals certainly aren't intimidated. They can put points up at will, too. Both teams have scored 80-or-more points in a game 10 times.

"I really feel that our defense has stepped up and allowed us to win the grinders," Peterson said. 

Derek Wolhowe, a 6-foot-4 senior forward, leads the Cardinals in scoring at 14.9 points-per-game. He also averages 7.2 rebounds and 2.3 assists. Jordan Riewer, a 6-1 senior guard, is right behind in scoring (14.7 ppg) and also averages 7.2 rebounds per game. The other starters are: Jon Bristow (11.2 ppg, 4.8 rpg), a 6-4 senior post; Jason Johnson (9.2 ppg, 4.8 rpg), a 6-4 senior post; and Trevor Wentworth (6.1 ppg), a 5-9 senior guard. 

NLS listed the following things via e-mail that it needs to do to win today.

* Limit turnovers, and at the same time, keep an up-tempo pace and physically wear (Staples-Motley) down.

* Limit Riewer's penetration.

* Rebound well.

* Contest every shot.

* Continue to get balanced scoring as it makes (NLS) more difficult to defend.

The Wildcats are led in scoring by Erik Tengwall 15.5 ppg) a 6-1 senior guard. Aaron Johnson (15 ppg), a 6-6 senior post; Aaron Jenny (13.4 ppg), a 6-2 senior guard; Justin Zylstra (12 ppg), a 6-3 junior forward; and Jayme Moten (11.3 ppg), a 5-10 junior guard, are the other starters.

The last time the teams met was two years ago in the 6AA championshp with the Wildcats prevailing 76-41 en route to winning the Class AA state title.