Boys basketball preview: NLS Wildcats start fresh with good size, athleticism

Boys basketball preview: NLS Wildcats start fresh with good size, athleticism

NEW LONDON — The

New London-Spicer

boys basketball team lost almost all of its core from the season prior and will have plenty of fresh faces competing in 2023-24.

NLS was 8-6 in Wright County Conference play and 16-13 overall in the 2022-23 season. The Wildcats started slow and finished their campaign by winning 10 of their last 15 games.

The Wildcats lost to Eden Valley-Watkins in the Section 3AA-North championship.

New London-Spicer junior guard Mason Delzer fights for possession of the ball against Morris/Chokio-Alberta senior Kyle Fehr on Wednesday, March 8, 2023, at the Big Red Gym in Willmar.

Michael Lyne / West Central Tribune

“We’ve got a lot of senior leadership and good team chemistry,” NLS head coach Skip Wright said. “After losing seven of our top nine players from last year, we will be a work in progress.”

Three of those seven departures are Brycen Christensen, Gabe Rohman and Aedan Andresen. Christensen was an All-Area First Team pick who averaged 14.0 points, 9,0 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 2.0 blocks per game.

NLS head boys basketball coach Skip Wright strategizes with his players on the bench during a game in the Bremer Bank Holiday Classic against Willmar at the Big Red Gym at Willmar High School.

NLS head boys basketball coach Skip Wright strategizes with his players on the bench during a game in the Bremer Bank Holiday Classic against Willmar at the Big Red Gym at Willmar High School.

Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

NLS returns seniors Grant Paffrath and Mason Delzer. Both are back in the starting lineup.

Paffrath, a 6-foot-3-inch guard/forward, was an All-Area Third Team selection. Delzer, a 6-2 guard, was an All-Wright County Conference Honorable Mention.

Paffrath averaged 18.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.0 steals per game. Delzer scored 9.6 points per contest and led the Wildcats in plus/minus at 5.0.

“Grant and Mason bring a lot of experience and leadership to our team,” Wright said.

Other players expected to contribute for NLS are: seniors Will Danielson (6-8 post), Gavin Radabaugh (5-10 guard), Chi Schneider (6-3 forward), Eli Jacobson (6-2 forward), Luke Knudsen (5-11 guard), junior Kaden Toutges (6-1 forward) and sophomore Burke Maxwell (6-0 guard).

“Our guys put a lot of work in this summer,” Wright said. “We have good size and athleticism.

“If we can get our players (who) are still out nursing football injuries back on the court and keep improving, we will be competitive in our section and our conference.”

Wright’s staff includes Jamie Thompson, Jeff Paffrath and Pete Hannig.

(All games are 7 p.m. unless otherwide noted)

Nov. 30 — vs. Morris/CA

Dec. 5 — at ACGC

Dec. 8 — vs. Paynesville

Dec. 12 — at BBE

Dec. 14 — vs. Redwood Valley

Dec. 19 — vs. Montvideo, 5:30 p.m.

Dec. 21 — vs. Eden Valley-Watkins, 7:15 p.m.

Dec. 28 — vs. Central Minnesota Christian, 5:30 p.m. at Wilmar

Jan. 2 — at KMS, 7:30 p.m.

Jan. 5 — vs. Rockford, 5:30 p.m.

Jan. 12 — vs. Glencoe-Silver Lake, 5:30 p.m.

Jan. 16 — vs. Annandale, 7:15 p.m.

Jan. 18 — at Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted, 7:15 p.m.

Jan. 23 — vs. Dassel-Cokato, 7:15p .m.

Jan. 26 — at Watertown-Mayer

Feb. 1 — vs. Minnewaska

Feb. 2 — vs. Litchfield

Feb. 6 — at Glencoe-Silver Lake

Feb. 9 —at Annandale

Feb. 13 — vs. Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted, 5:30 p.m.

Feb. 16 — at Dassel-Cokato

Feb. 20 — vs. Watertown-Mayer

Feb. 22 — vs. Melrose

Feb. 23 — at Rockford, 7:30 p.m.

Feb. 26 — at Litchfield

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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