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Boys basketball: Wildcats top Tigers, head to 6AA-South title game

Tribune photo by Rand Middleton Morris/Chokio-Alberta’s Nic Vipond and New London-Spicer’s Trent Boie battle for rebound under the Wildcat basket in a Section 6AA-South semifinal game Monday in Collegeville.

COLLEGEVILLE — The New London-Spicer Wildcats came out of their corner unleashing roundhouse rights to knock Morris/Chokio-Alberta out of the postseason on Monday night at Sexton Arena.

The Cats landed eight hard punches in the form of rainbow 3-pointers to zip to a 21-point lead by intermission. The second half remained up-tempo but the Tigers were unable to make up ground and went down 76-49 in the Section 6AA boys semifinal, postponed from Saturday.

Chad Schmeising, the New London-Spicer head coach, was concerned his boys might not be ready for a Monday game, which is most always a practice day.

He need not have worried.

The Cats swished 8 of 10 triple attempts in the first 18 minutes and finished 9 of 12 for the game. Overall, the No. 2 seed in the South made 50 percent of their shots.

“A lot of things fall into place when the shots are falling like that,” said Schmeising. “We’ve been in a lot of games where we had to climb out of a hole early but not this time. It was a fun game for us.”

The NLS guards Joey Dreier and Aaron Ruter each canned a trio of treys in the first half and Brett Olson, a forward, hit two more.

Olson’s bomb from the side made it 39-14 with 4:46 showing on the first half clock and Tigers’ coach Mark Torgerson took his third time out.

Out of the time out, Dreier pulled up and deposited another three. It was that kind of night for the Tigers.

“They outhustled us,” said Torgerson. “I thought we would have competed harder being a senior team. But those 3s takes something out of you. They were open and they buried them. Credit them. Their guards were a step quicker and overall they are a little quicker but we’ve played quicker teams before and done well.”

The Cats proceed to Wednesday 7:45 p.m. tip off with Litchfield, which did play on Saturday blitzing Eden Valley-Watkins. The Dragons trumped NLS twice in Wright County Conference play, 63-41 on Feb. 5 and 64-55 on March 1.

NLS’s 14-14 record reflects playing in its new home where it faced a AAA schedule with heavy-hitters like Waconia, Delano and Orono, plus a Litchfield squad which has personnel back from a team that reached the Class AA championship game last March.

The Tigers end up 19-8 with loses to some impressive foes, like No. 1 Melrose, Litchfield, Alexandria and Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa.

Ruter finished with 22 points and Dreier 17 (they combined for 37 points when the Cats beat Morris/CA 69-59 in overtime on Feb. 26. Olson added 10 points while Shane Zylstra supplied 8 points and 9 rebounds.

Tigers’ center Nic Vipond scored 13 points. But 6-foot-5 Austin Dierks, who had 24 points the first meeting, could get only 10 points this time with 6-5 Tyson Gislason on his backside and Dreier or another defender dropping low to front him. Dierks did grab 8 rebounds and Logan Manska contributed 10 points and 3 steals.

Albany and Melrose play the first game with a 6 p.m. tip-off on the St. John’s campus Wednesday in the 6AA North final.

NLS 76, Morris/CA 49

Morris/CA (19-8)    23 26 — 49

NLS (14-14)    44 32 — 76

MORRIS/CHOKIO-ALBERTA – 19-62 FG (2-21 3-pt); 9-11 FT; 26 rebounds; 17 fouls … Scoring: Nic Vipond 13, Jacob Torgerson 6, Chandler Erickson 4, Tyler Hendrichs 2, Logan Manska 10, Austin Dierks 10, John Tiernan 6 … 3-point shots: Torgerson 2 … Rebound leaders: Dierks 8, Vipon 5 … Assist leaders: Erickson 5 … Steal leaders: Manska 3, Tom Holland 3

NEW LONDON-SPICER – 28-47 FG (9-12 3-pt); 11-18 FT; 32 rebounds; 13 fouls … Scoring: Aaron Ruter 22, Joey Dreier 17, Brett Olson 10, Shane Zylstra 8, Trent Boie 6, Ryan Vraa 4, Tyson Gislason 3, Reid Johnson 2, Adam Essler 2, Devin Fostervold 2  … 3-point shots: Ruter 4, Dreier 3, Olson 2 … Rebound leaders: Zykstra 9, Boie 5 … Assist leaders: Ruter 5, Vraa 3 … Steal leaders: Dreier 3

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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