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Girls Basketball Preview 2022-23: NLS Wildcats have high goals in Dreier's 45th season

NLS aims for a return to the state tournament

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NLS junior Avery Rich, right, looks to drive by Willmar's Sammy Christoffer during the championship of the WildCard Tournament Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2021 at New London.
Joe Brown / West Central Tribune
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NEW LONDON — The New London-Spicer girls basketball team had the kind of season a lot of teams would love to have, going 24-4 and winning the Wright County Conference West Division title with a 12-2 record in 2021-22..

Click headline to see more girls basketball previews for the 2022-23 season.

The Wildcats return one of the top backcourts in Class AA in Avery Rich and Jaden Coahran and have enough experience back to make another run at conference and section titles.

However, the Wildcats missed the state tournament after qualifying in back-to-back seasons and qualifying 17 other times since 1985. They lost to Montevideo 41-26 in the Section 3AA semifinals after impressive wins over Paynesville (72-43) and Litchfield (51-30). Bet that it's a motivator as NLS embarks upon the 2022-23 season.

Click headline to see this team's basketball schedule for the 2022-23 season.

The challenge will be replacing five seniors who all contributed: Izzy Schmiesing; Nyla Johnson; Ellie Hanson; Courtney Rich; and Audrey Schneider. But, there are five regulars returning, including two All-West Central Tribune Area players.

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NLS junior Jaden Coahran throws up a layup against CMCS during a first-round game in the WildCard Tournament Monday, Dec. 27, 2021 at New London.
Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

Leading the way are Avery Rich and Coahran. Rich is a 5-foot-7 guard who averaged 17.3 points, 3.2 assists and 4.5 steals per game as junior. Also an all-conference selection, she'll be considered one to the top seniors in Class AA this season.

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Coahran is a 5-7 guard who averaged 10.2 ppg, 4.6 rebounds, 3.5 apg and 2.7 ppg for the Wildcats as a junior. Another all-conference player, she'll team up with Rich to give NLS one of the top backcourts in the area.

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NLS sophomore Delaney Hanson (44) puts up a runner against Montevideo defenders Hailey Dirksen (32) and Keely Foley (30) during the first half of a non-conference game in Montevideo.
Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

Three others return after seeing varsity time: Ellary Peterson (5-9, F); Laney Hanson (5-9, F); and Dakota Rich (5-7, G), who is Avery's sister. Dakota Rich averaged 9.7 ppg last season. Hanson averaged 6.0 ppg and 4.5 rpg and Peterson contributed 4.0 ppg and 6.5 rpg.

Players to watch including sophomore Ava Carlson (5-9, F) and seniors Katelyn Tortorella (6-1, C), Kaylee Thorson (5-8, W) and Miller Holland (5-7, F).

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NLS freshman Dakota Rich, 23, closes in on Willmar's Ellary Lange during the championship of the WildCard Tournament Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2021, at New London.
Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

Mike Dreier begins his 45th season as head coach. He has a career record of 1,009-187, the most wins of any girls basketball coach in state history. His assistants include Joey Dreier, his son, and Margaret Essler and Lynette Beuning, both long-time coaches in the program.

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