The Mayer Lutheran girls’ basketball team struggled in conference play last week, falling to both Norwood Young America and Jordan at home. The Crusaders are now 1-2 in the Minnesota River Conference, 4-3 overall this season.
Head coach Kris Gustin said he and the team are obviously disappointed with the double conference losses, but predicts both NYA and Jordan to finish at the top of the conference by the end of the season.
NYA 63, Mayer 56
Hosting nearby NYA Central on Dec. 11, the Crusaders were down by eight points at halftime, trailing 32-26.
The Raiders blew open the second half by scoring 15 unanswered points and holding the Crusaders off the scoreboard for the first nine minutes of the half.
“Anytime you don’t score for nine minutes, you’re going to be in trouble,” Gustin said.
But Mayer Lutheran pulled together a nice rally that put the team within four points, but Gustin said the hole the Crusaders had dug was just too deep to emerge from before the clock ran out.
Free throws again held the Crusaders back, as the team made only four of 12 free throws (33 percent).
Overall shooting also was down, with Mayer Lutheran shooting just 35 percent from two-point range (23-65) and 27 percent in three-point attempts (6-22). Juniors Lauren Mantueffel and Josie Peters led the Crusaders offensive effort with 11 points each. Senior captains Ashlyn Hucky and Nico Schmidt both scored nine points for LHS, followed by senior Tina Bruggman (8).
The Crusaders won the rebounding battle 37-35, led by Manteuffel (11) and Schmidt (10). Bruggman also had seven rebounds. Manteuffel led the team with three blocked shots, followed by Peters, Schmidt, and Bruggman, who each had two.
As Gustin frequently tells the team, “basketball is a game of runs.”
“If you win the runs, you win the game,” he said.
Jordan 62, Mayer 46
After yet another struggle to sink buckets in the first half on Dec. 13, the Crusaders would eventually fall to No. 9 (2A) Jordan. Trailing 23-15 at halftime, the Crusaders’ shooting improved in the second half.
For the game, the Crusaders made 20 of 58 field goal attempts (34.5 percent), led by senior Holly Johnson and Schmidt, who both netted ten points. Manteuffel scored seven for the Crusaders, along with Bruggman (6), and Hucky (5).
The Crusaders will be at the St. Olaf tournament during winter break, returning to host Tri-City United on Jan. 4.