New London-Spicer wins WildCard title
NEW LONDON -- The Midwest Wireless/WildCard title returned to New London-Spicer Saturday. The Wildcats tore it from Willmar's grasp after a one-year stay at the school district just to the south. The Wildcats were methodical in dispatching the Ca...
NEW LONDON -- The Midwest Wireless/WildCard title returned to New London-Spicer Saturday.
The Wildcats tore it from Willmar's grasp after a one-year stay at the school district just to the south.
The Wildcats were methodical in dispatching the Cardinals 44-33 for their eighth straight win after a 0-2 start to the season.
Coach Mike Dreier's team bolted to a 12-2 lead. Willmar pulled within three at 12-9 with eight minutes remaining, but only managed to score just one more point the rest of the first half, which ended with NLS in front, 28-10.
Willmar made mini-runs in the second half to shave the NLS lead to nine on two occasions, but never got closer.
"We came out great," said Dreier. "Our girls were focused the first half and controlled the tempo except for maybe a five-minute span. The second half, Willmar came out with a lot of energy and their aggressiveness put us on our heels. But the girls answered back."
The Wildcats got the bulk of their scoring from 5-8 forward Jenn Wendlandt, who had 13 points, and 6-foot junior Renae Henjum, who had 11 points and 15 rebounds. The same two combined for 37 points Friday in the Wildcats' 55-50 comeback win over Section 5AA rival Watertown-Mayer.
Guard Brin Hanson and Lisa Nielsen had totaled 32 points for Willmar in the 57-54 win over Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg, but in the final managed just five points together.
Hanson, who has been Willmar's sparkplug and had a season-high 18 points on Friday, got in immediate foul trouble and played very little in the first half. Nielsen also found herself in foul purgatory and sat for long stretches. Consequently, freshmen Mariel Aamot and Jena Thompson each got a lot of floor time.
The Wildcats' reliable 2-3 zone crunched the Willmar offense. The Cardinals shot 23 percent on 10 of 43 (2 of 14, three-pointers).
Only sophomore forward Kelsey Evans and her smooth jump shot had much luck. She finished with a season-high 15 points, good for a team-high 27 points for the two-day tourney.
NLS got contributions all through its young line-up, including five freshmen who saw action in both halves. NLS (8-2) is at Minnewaska Friday and home against Rocori on Saturday.
Willmar (4-5) hosts Marshall today.
It was the 10th WildCard title for NLS in 15 years. Willmar won its fourth WildCard title last season beating Hawley in the final.
NL-Spicer 44, Willmar 33
Willmar (4-5) 10 23 -- 33
New London-Sp. (8-2) 28 16 -- 44
WILLMAR - 10-43 FG (2-14 3 pt); 11-26 FT; 30 rebounds; 19 fouls ... Scoring: Megan Brown 1, Kelsey Evans 15, Brin Hanson 2, Hannah Okins 5, Briana Goldschmidt 5, Allie Unger 2, Lisa Nielsen 3 ... 3-point shots: Evans 2 ... Rebound leaders: Evans 9, Nielsen 8 ... Assist leaders: Hanson 4 ... Steal leaders: Hanson 2, Evans 2, Nielsen 2
NEW LONDON-SPICER - 15-46 FG (0-6 3 pt); 14-22 FT; 39 rebounds; 20 fouls ... Scoring: Kelsey Cors 2, Ellary Asche 5, Renae Henjum 11, Jennesa Johnson 1, Cassie Ziemer 4, Michele Johnson 2, Jenn Wendlandt 13, Justine Dammermann 2, Karli Wendlandt 4 ... 3-point shots: none ... Rebound leaders: Ziemer 3, Taylor Thompsen 3, Henjum 15, J. Wendlandt 9 ... Assist leader: Henjum 3, Asche 4 ... Steal leader: Asche 3 ... Blocked shots: Henjum 3