The New London-Spicer Wildcats boys basketball team defeated the West Central Area Knights in a tightly contested contest in the 3AA North playoffs in Barrett on Mar. 4 by a score of 47-43.
The Knights led 24-23 at halftime. NL-S built a 34-27 lead when the Knights went on a 10-0 run to go up 37-34. In the final minutes with the Wildcats leading 45-43, they missed a front end of a one and one but the Knights weren't able to secure the rebound and had to foul again where the Wildcats sealed the game with two free throws.
The Wildcats shot 19-47 for 40% and 2-16 from three-point land. They were 7-12 from the line. WCA had a tough shooting night making only 13-42 shots for 31%. The Knights made 5-15 threes and 12-17 free throws. The rebounds were even at 32-32.
Knights coach Kraig Hunter said, "Both teams played good defense. We forced a lot of turnovers and took away their three-point game holding them to 2-16. I was proud of our defense and how hard our kids worked. Unfortunately we weren't efficient enough on offense. We didn't finish well and we didn't value the basketball enough as we had too many turnovers. In Class AA basketball, there are a lot of good teams. NL-S is loaded with athletes as they won the state football championship and were the preseason section favorite. It was a great high school basketball game with both teams leaving everything on the floor. Congratulations to them."
"It was a great season for our guys being nearly the smallest AA school in the state. We finished 18-8 overall and finished conference runner-up in the tough West Central Conference. Some of our seniors have been playing varsity since ninth grade and finished the last four years 82-21. They have a lot to be proud of."
Scoring for the Knights was Cole Anderson with 18, Jacob Strunk 13, Bryce Kjesbo seven, Mitch Dewey three and Ben Bye two. Rebounding leaders were Strunk with eight, Anderson, Bye and Nasir Dotts all had five. Strunk had six steals and Dotts two. Dotts was the assist leader with three.
Scoring leaders for the Wildcats were Grant Paffrath with 20 and Brycen Christenson with 12.
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