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Girls Basketball: ‘Cats open Wild-Card with win

New London-Spicer’s Taylor Thundstedt ties up Nicole McKevitt of Heritage Christian Academy as Ashlyn Geister pulls back in the first half. Tribune photo by Rand Middleton.

NEW LONDON — Two undefeateds will meet tonight in the West Central Tribune WildCard finale.

The New London-Spicer Wildcats (8-0) dispatched overmatched but scrappy Heritage Christian Academy of Maple Grove 52-17 in a dress rehearsal for tonight’s showdown.

Minnehaha Academy, back to this holiday hoops event for the third time, was impressive overwhelming the Willmar Cardinals 67-40.

The lopsided score caught Wildcats’ coach Mike Dreier by surprise.

“I expected it to be a toss-up,” he said. “But [Minnehaha] has an outside game and an explosive inside game, plus they play tough defense.”

Heritage Christian (0-7) was a late fill-in when several other possibilities didn’t work out. The Eagles are just getting their program established.

They came ready to play leading 6-2 and trailing just 10-8 halfway through the opening half.

Perhaps playing at less than full throttle, the Wildcats shot 31 percent and were just 6 of 31 (19 percent) on three-pointers.

Taylor Thunstedt finished with 21 points and Megan Thorson nabbed a team-high 9 rebounds.

Rebekah Walk led the Eagles with 10 points. Paige Berge pulled in 8 rebounds.

The Cats are two-time defending champion of the WildCard. Last year they tipped Willmar 46-45 OT in overtime and two years ago beat Bloomington Kennedy team. Willmar, the alternating host of this 21-year-old tournament, last won in 2009, 46-43 in overtime vs. New London-Spicer.

NLS 51, Heritage Christian 17

Heritage Christian (0-7)    11    6 — 17

NL-Spicer (8-0)    26  26 — 52

HERITAGE CHRISTIAN, MAPLE GROVE – 7-36 FG (1-6 3-pt); 2-4 FT; 34 rebounds; 9 fouls … Scoring: Natalie Nelson 2, Rebekah Walk 8, Mikaela Lien 3, Paige Berge 4 … 3-point shots: Walk … Rebound leaders: Berge 8, Lein 6 … Steal leaders: Nelson 3

NEW LONDON-SPICER – 20-65 FG (6-31 3-pt); 6-10 FT; 42 rebounds; 5 fouls … Scoring: Reiley Ness 2, Taylor Thunstedt 21, Tori King 4, Alyssa Fredrick 2, Megan Thorson 4, Bri Fredrick 3, Ashlyn Geister 7, Olivia Setterberg 7, Jessica Johnson 2 … 3-point shots: Thunstedt 5-12, Fredrick … Rebound leaders: Thorson 9, Johnson 7, King 6 … Assist leaders: Thundstedt 3, Lydia Kieft 3, Petra Lothert 3 … Steal leaders: Kieft … Blocks: Thunstedt 2

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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