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New London downs Columbus in opening round play-in

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Tigers defeats Wildcats in Class 1A Region 5 first round



New London’s London Franklin gets up for two in the Tigers Class 1A Region 5 victory over Columbus on Friday, Feb. 9, 2024. (Hunter Moeller/The Union)

NEW LONDON — New London and Columbus boys basketball kicked off Class 1A Region 5 postseason play on Friday night.

The Tigers were never down in the opening round matchup as they topped the Wildcats 65-52.

New London came out scorching from deep in the opening period. In all, the Tigers drilled five threes in the first, but it didn’t translate to a big lead after eight minutes.

“We can be a totally different team,” New London head coach Bryant Porter said of the ball movement and shooting. “We’ve struggled this year to even score and I told those guys we got shooters, we just can’t get our shots off. Tonight, I feel like they moved the ball around a lot better.”


Columbus’ Tim Hills-Carrier puts up a shot against New London in the two’s Class 1A Region 5 bout on Friday, Feb. 9, 2024. (Hunter Moeller/The Union)
Columbus’ Tim Hills-Carrier puts up a shot against New London in the two’s Class 1A Region 5 bout on Friday, Feb. 9, 2024. (Hunter Moeller/The Union)

New London opening up a 16-4 lead through four minutes of action. Columbus didn’t let up. The Wildcats got back-to-back threes from Gabriel Zuniga to cut it to six, 16-10.

Columbus got it all the way down to five with under a minute to go, but Brigham Porter’s three with just seconds to go put the Tigers up 23-15 heading into the second.

The Tigers continued their hot shooting into the second quarter.


New London’s Memphis Watson drops in a pair in the Tiger’s win over Columbus on Friday, Feb. 9, 2024. (Hunter Moeller/The Union)
New London’s Memphis Watson drops in a pair in the Tiger’s win over Columbus on Friday, Feb. 9, 2024. (Hunter Moeller/The Union)

After holding a 29-20 advantage midway through the frame, the Tigers hit four straight threes, two each from Carter Benjamin and Brendan Richey.

In all, the Tigers outscored the Wildcats 20-9 to take a 43-24 into the half.

Through the early half of the third, the Tigers continued to tack it on. The Tigers put together an 11-5 through four minutes to make it 54-29.

Columbus didn’t get rattled as the Wildcats closed on a 13-2 run, finished off with a three from Tim Hills-Carrier to bring it to 56-42.


Columbus’ Juan Chairez skies for two in the Wildcats postseason opener against New London on Friday, Feb. 9, 2024. (Hunter Moeller/The Union)
Columbus’ Juan Chairez skies for two in the Wildcats postseason opener against New London on Friday, Feb. 9, 2024. (Hunter Moeller/The Union)

The Wildcats went on to win the fourth 10-9, but it wasn’t enough to top the Tigers.

“I feel pretty good about this win,” Porter said. “We had our goals this year and we came up short in areas, but district play is just another part of the season that you hope you’re playing your best basketball. I think right now our guys got some confidence going into the next game.”

The Tigers drilled threes in the win. Brendan Richey lead the way with 16 points. Memphis Watson had 13 points. Carter Benjamin finished with 12 points and Brigham Porter had 11.

For Columbus, Tim Hills-Carrier had 21 points.

New London improves to 5-16 and will take on Winfield-Mt. Union (16-2) in the second round.

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