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Girls basketball: NLS Wildcats dominate CMCS Bluejays at the WildCard Holiday Tournament

Led by Jaden Coahran’s 28 points, No. 6 NLS overwhelms CMCS, 80-31

NLS senior Jaden Coahran, right, looks to put up a shot against CMCS' Sienna Duininck during a game in the Heritage Bank WildCard Holiday Tournament at the Big Red Gym at Willmar High School.
NLS senior Jaden Coahran, right, looks to put up a shot against CMCS' Sienna Duininck during a game in the Heritage Bank WildCard Holiday Tournament at the Big Red Gym at Willmar High School.
Joe Brown / West Central Tribune
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WILLMAR — Jaden Coahran helped the New London-Spicer Wildcats dominate the Central Minnesota Christian Bluejays to advance to the Heritage Bank WildCard Holiday Tournament championship on Tuesday.

A senior guard in her fifth season, Coahran scored a career-high 28 points with team-highs of seven steals and three three-pointers. She spent roughly half of the second half on the bench.

Coahran’s effort allowed NLS to utilize much of its bench. She scored the game’s first basket and the Wildcats never trailed in their 80-31 victory over CMCS.

CMCS sophomore Sophia Vogel, left, is guarded by NLS' Avery Rich during a game in the Heritage Bank WildCard Holiday Tournament at the Big Red Gym at Willmar High School.
CMCS sophomore Sophia Vogel, left, is guarded by NLS' Avery Rich during a game in the Heritage Bank WildCard Holiday Tournament at the Big Red Gym at Willmar High School.
Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

NLS, ranked sixth in the state in Class AA, plays Willmar for the championship at 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Big Red Gym. Willmar beat Redwood Valley 49-28 in the WildCard’s other semifinal. The third place game is at 6:15 p.m.

“It’s not about points. I don’t really care how much I score. It’s about winning and being with the team,” Coahran said. “Our aggressiveness and our shooting was really good today. If we shoot like that for the rest of the year, I think we’ll make it far.”

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Wildcat teammate Avery Rich added, “She’s a big part of our team and she works really hard.”

The Wildcats never trailed, leading 49-20 at halftime. Coahran had 17 points by then and the Rich sisters, Avery and Dakota, both had 10. Avery finished with 18 and Dakota finished with 13.

NLS sophomore Ava Carlson, 15, lobs a pass to teammate Katelynn Tortorella during a game against CMCS in the Heritage Bank WildCard Holiday Tournament at the Big Red Gym at Willmar High School.
NLS sophomore Ava Carlson, 15, lobs a pass to teammate Katelynn Tortorella during a game against CMCS in the Heritage Bank WildCard Holiday Tournament at the Big Red Gym at Willmar High School.
Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

The Wildcats’ lead grew to 69-24 with 11 minutes, 39 seconds remaining, allowing NLS head coach Mike Dreier to go deep into his bench.

Ten NLS players scored at least one basket. The Wildcats made 10 three-pointers.

“It’s a game that shows them what they’re capable of doing, which is always good. Hopefully, that gives them a goal to match in the future,” Dreier said of his Wildcats holding CMCS to 11 points in the second half. “I liked their team play, they really shared the basketball. They didn’t get selfish. Sometimes it’s easy to get selfish when you get a lead. I felt they did a good job.”

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CMCS freshman Carrie Mulder, right, looks to dribble by NLS' Ava Carlson during a game in the Heritage Bank WildCard Holiday Tournament at the Big Red Gym at Willmar High School.
CMCS freshman Carrie Mulder, right, looks to dribble by NLS' Ava Carlson during a game in the Heritage Bank WildCard Holiday Tournament at the Big Red Gym at Willmar High School.
Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

Avery Rich added, “I think we just played really good team basketball. We played good defense and we hit our open shots, which I think got us out to a good lead and it went from there.”

Freshman guard Carrie Mulder led the Bluejays with 11 points. Eighth-grade guard Sienna Duininck had seven.

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“The girls continue to work hard. It wasn’t that we weren’t trying. We did some nice things,” CMCS head coach Brian Nelson said. “When you get on the other side of those big leads, it takes a lot out of you, but there’s some positives. The nice thing is you get another game to get more experience. (Wednesday) we get another crack.”

NLS sophomore Dakota Rich, middle, gathers the ball for a steal after poking it loose during a game against CMCS in the Heritage Bank WildCard Holiday Tournament at the Big Red Gym at Willmar High School.
NLS sophomore Dakota Rich, middle, gathers the ball for a steal after poking it loose during a game against CMCS in the Heritage Bank WildCard Holiday Tournament at the Big Red Gym at Willmar High School.
Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

NLS 80, CMCS 31

NLS (5-0)          49   31 — 80
CMCS (1-6)       20   11 — 31

NLS - Scoring: Jaden Coahran 28, Avery Rich 18, Dakota Rich 13, Delaney Hanson 8, Miller Holland 3, Katelynn Tortorella 2, Ava Carlson 2, Ayla Caskey 2, Ellary Peterson 2, Kaylee Thorson 2 … 3-point shots: Coahran 3, A. Rich 2, D. Rich 2, Hanson 2, Holland 1 … Rebound leader: Peterson 6, Hanson 6 … Assist leader: A. Rich 6 … Steal leader: Coahran 7 ... Block leader: Peterson 1, Tortorella 1, Hanson 1

CMCS - Scoring: Carrie Mulder 11, Sienna Duininck 7, Peighton Mulder 5, Avery Duininck 2, CC Roiseland 2, Lilly Mellema 2, Natasha Erickson 2 … 3-point shots: Mulder 1, S. Duininck 1 … Rebound leader: Lauren Taatjes 5 … Assist leader: S. Duininck 3 … Steal leader: Roiseland 2 ... Block leader: Taatjes 1

CMCS junior Lilly Mellema, left, looks to make a baseline pass against an NLS defender during a game in the Heritage Bank WildCard Holiday Tournament at the Big Red Gym at Willmar High School.
CMCS junior Lilly Mellema, left, looks to make a baseline pass against an NLS defender during a game in the Heritage Bank WildCard Holiday Tournament at the Big Red Gym at Willmar High School.
Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

Michael Lyne joined the West Central Tribune as a sports reporter in May 2022, following his graduation from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, where he graduated with a bachelors degree in journalism and a minor degree in Spanish studies.

You may reach Michael at mlyne@wctrib.com, or by calling (320) 214-4345.
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