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Girls Basketball: NLS season comes to end

New London-Spicer's Ava Kraemer wrestles with Eden Valley-Watkins' Halle Jansen for a ball during Tuesday's Section 3AA playoff game at Paynesville High School. Jake Schultz / Tribune1 / 6
Jake Schultz / Tribune2 / 6
Jake Schultz / Tribune3 / 6
Jake Schultz / Tribune4 / 6
New London-Spicer's Shea Oman drives for a lay-up during Tuesday's Section 3AA playoff game at Paynesville High School. Jake Schultz / Tribune5 / 6
Jake Schultz / Tribune6 / 6

PAYNESVILLE — It's a common mantra that defense wins championships, and if that's the case then Eden Valley-Watkins could be finishing the season with some hardware for their hard work.

The Eagles topped New London-Spicer Tuesday night, ending the Wildcats' season with a 44-27 slobberknocker at Paynesville High School in the Section 3AA-North final. It was a defensive battle from start to finish, as Eden Valley-Watkins started with a 17-11 first half lead.

Shea Oman took over for a bit in the second half, knocking down a 3-pointer and a pair of difficult shots midway through the period but the Eagles were able to slow down the remained of the Wildcats for the win.

"They played very well and we didn't take advantage of the chances that we had," said NLS head coach Mike Dreier. "They outplayed us, outmuscled us."

It marks the end of an impressive career for Oman, who ended the night with a game-high 15 points. She also finished with three steals, a trademark of her game throughout the years. The Bemidji State-bound guard helped guide the Wildcats to a pair of Class AA State Tournament appearances and was an eighth grader during the Wildcats' 2013-2014 state trip as well.

Oman and forward Courtney Caskey will be the lone graduating players from an incredibly young team that exceeded expectations with a final 21-7 record.

"Our whole team, except for Shea, played B squad last year," Dreier said. "It's a pretty big jump but they've played very well this year. Even our juniors, they're young experience-wise. It was a very, very rewarding season, one of my favorite teams I've ever had. They tried to do everything they were asked. It really rejuvenated me."

EVW 44, NLS 27

NLS (21-7) 11 16 — 27

EVW (26-3) 17 27 — 44

NEW LONDON-SPICER - Scoring: Shea Oman 15, Mackenzie Rich 2, Grace DeSchepper 4, Ava Kraemer 2, Erin Knisley 4 ... 3-point shots: Oman 2 ... Rebound leader: Knisley 6, DeSchepper 4, Rich 4 ... Assist leader: Hanson 2 ... Steal leader: Oman 3

EDEN VALLEY-WATKINS - Scoring: Mandy Molitor 7, Olivia Kuechle 12, Olivia Schlepper 2, Halle Jansen 8, Sawyer Kuechle 2, Emma Schultz 13 ... 3-point shots: Molitor 1, Kuechler 2 ... Rebound leader: NA... Assist leader: NA ... Steal leader: NA