With a win over LeSueur-Henderson on Jan. 17, the Mayer Lutheran boys’ basketball team extended its win streak to seven games last week. Now 8-5 this season, the Crusaders are 5-1 in the Minnesota River Conference and are tied with Jordan for top honors.
At LeSueur last Thursday, the Crusaders opened up a 29-18 halftime lead, fed by strong starters from the tip off.
“Our starters played very strong defense right off the toss,” Mayer Lutheran head coach Dan Perrel said. “They made it very difficult for LS-H to score. Thankfully our bench kept the trend going throughout the game.”
Although the Crusaders wouldn’t score in the final two and a half minutes, Mayer Lutheran cruised to the 57-35 victory. The starters tallied 29 points during the game, while the Crusader bench added 28 points.
Led by juniors Anthony Gruenhagen and Cole Buttenhoff, who each scored nine points, the Crusaders continued their system basketball with additional points from senior Tanner Luebke (8), freshman Sam Schlueter (8), senior Phil Burfeind (6), junior Chad Anenson (4), junior Mason Diedrick (4), junior Mike Vigil (4), junior Brandon Wroge (3), and sophomore Taylor Otterstatter (2). Buttenhoff’s points came from his hot shooting at the three-point line, where he was 3-3.
Shooting 39 percent from two-point range (16-41), Perrel said the Crusader post players got good looks at the basket, but struggled to finish.
“It was just one of those off nights for them,” he said.
Free throws were low for the game, as Mayer Lutheran made 4-7 and LeSueur-Henderson shot 3-6. The Crusaders shot just one free throw in the second half, while the Giants did not shoot any.
The Crusaders outrebounded LeSueur 36-25, grabbing 17 offensive rebounds. Mayer Lutheran also had 20 steals, assisted by Gruenhagen’s quick hands capturing six in the first half.
On the flipside, Mayer Lutheran committed 21 turnovers.
“How do you account for 21 turnovers?” Perrel said. “An unusually high number of travels were called.”
The Crusaders will host Sibley East tomorrow, Jan. 25, and Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop on Jan. 28, before playing at Norwood Young America Jan. 31.
Contact Melissa Marohl at email@example.com