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Girls basketball: Wildcats stumble against ’Streeters

Kimm Anderson/St. Cloud Times Sauk Centre’s Brianna VonWahlde (left) battles New London-Spicer’s Ashlyn Geister for a loose ball in the first half of their Section 6AA championship game Friday at Halenbeck Hall in St. Cloud.

ST. CLOUD — At its essence, winning basketball entails shooting the ball well and making sure your opponent doesn’t.

Sauk Centre performed those tasks did that a little better than New London-Spicer Friday night and the Mainstreeters ended the Wildcats’ season 60-45 in the Section 6AA championship game at St. Cloud State’s Halenbeck Hall.

The Wildcats end their season 24-5 overall while the 27-2 ’Streeters return the Class AA state tournament for a second straight year and play Minneapolis Washburn in the state quarterfinals at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the University of Minnesota’s Williams Arena.

“We had an outstanding year,” NLS head coach Mike Dreier said. “We achieved more than I’m sure anyone thought we were going to. That’s a credit to the kids.”

On Friday, New London-Spicer jumped out quickly, taking leads of seven points in the opening minutes. The Wildcats led 15-10 when Sauk Centre heated up.

Sauk Centre’s Ali Peterson scored her only points and a 3-pointer give the Mainstreeters their first lead at 18-17 with about 4:30 left in the first half.

Jena Klaphake hit one of her three 3-pointers on Sauk Centre’s next possession and Jordan Gamradt nailed another 3-pointer with two seconds left in the first half to put the ’Streeters up seven at 28-21.

A Klaphake 3-pointer about three minutes into the second half put Sauk Centre up 31-21 and the Wildcats were officially in trouble.

The Mainstreeters shot almost 60 percent from the field in the second half compared to NLS’ 38 percent.

NLS managed just 12 points in the final 13 minutes of the game against Sauk Centre’s solid player-to-player defense.

“We missed some point-blankers, they hit some big ones and then we were playing in a hole,” Dreier said.

NLS’ Taylor Thunsedt led the team with 21 points while Ashlyn Geister continued her impressive play with 10 points and a team-high 8 rebounds.

Macy Weller had a team-high 16 points and 9 rebounds for Sauk Centre, and Klaphake finished with 13 points, 7 boards and 7 assists.

Section 6AA

Sauk Centre 60, NLS 45

Sauk Centre (27-2)    28 32 — 60

NLS (24-5)    21 24 — 45

SAUK CENTRE – 19-42 FG (8-23 3-pt); 14-20 FT; 30 rebounds; 13 fouls … Scoring: Jena Klaphake 13, Elizabeth Ellens 7, Ali Peterson 3, Jordan Gamradt 9, Macy Weller 16, Rebecca Moe 2, Brianna VonWahlde 8, Sydney Zensen 2 … 3-point shots: Ellens 2, Klaphake 3, Gamradt 2, Peterson 1 … Rebound leaders: Weller 9, Klaphake 7 … Assist leaders: Klaphake 7 … Steal leaders: VonWahlde 2

NEW LONDON-SPICER – 17-45 FG (4-15 3-pt); 7-13 FT; 27 rebounds; 17 fouls … Scoring: Taylor Thunsedt 21, Megan Thorson 3, Brianna Fredrick 5, Ashlyn Geister 10, Olivia Setterberg 4, Jessica Johnson 2 … 3-point shots: Thunstedt 3, Fredrick 1 … Rebound leaders: Geister 8, Johnson 4, Setterberg 4, Thunstedt 4 … Assist leaders: Thunstedt 4, Lydia Kieft 2 … Steal leaders: Petra Lothert 2

Tom Larson

Tom Larson is the sports editor of the West Central Tribune.

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