Home » Girls basketball preview: NLS stays up-beat about a state repeat

Girls basketball preview: NLS stays up-beat about a state repeat

NEW LONDON — The New London-Spicer girls basketball team lost a handful of core pieces from its state tournament team from a season ago but returns a few more.

NLS, ranked No. 10 in the Minnesota Basketball News Class AA preseason poll, had a 30-2 overall record and was 13-0 record in Wright County Conference play in 2022-23. The Wildcats won the Class AA consolation championship.

The Wildcats graduated six seniors. That list includes Avery Rich, Jaden Coahran, Ellary Peterson, Kaylee Thorson, Katelynn Tortorella and Miller Holland.

New London-Spicer junior guard Dakota Rich pulls up from the midrange and takes a shot over West Central junior Macy Grosz on Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023, at New London.

Michael Lyne / West Central Tribune

Avery Rich was an All-Area First Team pick and Jaden Coahran was an All-Area Second Team member. Avery Rich averaged 17.0 points, 5.3 steals and 4.2 assists per game and Coahran averaged 11.1 points and 5.6 rebounds per contest.

NLS will look toward its three returning starters to help push it back into contention for the state tournament. Those three are Dakota Rich, Delaney Hanson and Ava Carlson.

Dakota Rich is back after a 2022-23 season where she was honored as an All-Wright County West pick. The 5-foot-8-inch junior guard averaged 13.4 points, 2.9 assists and 2.8 steals per game as a sophomore.

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New London-Spicer head coach Mike Dreier yells on the sideline against Minnehaha Academy in the Class AA quarterfinals on Wednesday, March 15, 2023, at Williams Arena in Minneapolis.

Michael Lyne / West Central Tribune

Wildcats head coach Mike Dreier, who enters his 46th season as NLS’ head coach, knows Dakota Rich will have to help drive the team’s offense as one of its main ball-handlers.

“She’ll have to be and be one of the main shooters,” said Dreier, who is assisted by Joey Dreier, Margaret Essler and Lynnette Beuning. “The people coming back have to take a big step up in their production. Last year it was Avery (Rich), Jaden (Coahran) and Ellary (Peterson) that people would pay attention to. Now they are getting that attention.”

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New London-Spicer’s bench erupts after a made 3-pointer by sophomore guard Dakota Rich against Luverne in the Section 3AA championship on Friday, March 10, 2023, at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall.

Michael Lyne / West Central Tribune

Hanson and Carlson each return as All-Wright County West Honorable Mentions.

Hanson is a 5-10 senior forward who posted averages of 8.4 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 2.3 steals per contest.

Carlson is a 5-10 junior forward who scored averages of 5.0 points, 5.1 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.4 steals per game.

NLS has four players each in their junior and sophomore classes noted as players to watch.

That list includes: juniors Piper Barney (5-11, forward), Jadyn Proehl (5-10, forward), Aly Wendlandt (5-8, guard) and Maren Munsch (5-6, guard); sophomores Ayla Caskey (5-8, guard), Katelyn Delzer (5-11, forward), Taylor Munsch (5-8, guard) and Roxanne Klein (6-0, center)

“Their attitudes seem excellent,” Dreier said of his Wildcats’ demeanors following their season-opening victory over West Central Area on Nov. 28. “If they stay upbeat, work hard and play together. You never know what could happen.”

(All games at 7 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Nov. 28 — vs. West Central

Dec. 1 — at Paynesville

Dec. 7 — at Morris/CA, 7:15 p.m.

Dec. 12 — at Minnewaska, 5:30 p.m.

Dec. 15 — vs. KMS

Dec. 19 — vs. Litchfield, 7:15 p.m.

Dec. 21 — vs. Eden Valley-Watkins, 5:30 p.m.

Dec. 27 — vs. Redwood Valley, 6 p.m.

Dec. 29 — vs. Willmar, 6 p.m.

jan. 5 — vs. Rockford, 7:15 p.m.

Jan. 12 — vs. Glencoe-Silver Lake, 7:15 p.m.

Jan. 13 — vs. Crosby-Ironton, 2 p.m.

Jan. 16 — vs. Annandale, 5:30 p.m.

Jan. 18 — at Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsteed, 5:45 p.m.

Jan. 20 — vs. Sauk Centre, 5:30 p.m.

Jan. 23 — vs. Dassel-Cokato, 5:30 p.m.

Jan. 25 — vs. Watertown-Mayer

jan. 26 — at Montevideo, 5:30 p.m.

Jan. 30 — at Albany, 7:15 p.m.

Feb. 2 — at Litchfield

Feb. 6 — at Glencoe-Silver Lake, 5:30 p.m.

Feb. 9 — at Annandale

Feb. 13 — vs. Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted, 7:15 p.m.

Feb. 16 — at Dassel-Cokato,5 :30 p.m.

Feb. 20 — at Watertown-Mayer

Feb. 23 — at Rockford, 5:45 p.m.