With two conference victories at home last week, the Mayer Lutheran girls’ basketball team is currently third in the Minnesota River Conference with a 6-2 record.
Mayer Lutheran 72, W-M 60
LHS hosted Watertown-Mayer Jan. 15. Despite losing Kate Theisen to a knee injury, (who Crusader head coach Kris Gustin dubbed their best player) the Royals continued to challenge the Crusaders with strong shooting, including sinking 12 three-point shots throughout the game.
But the Crusaders held on for a 37-28 halftime lead, and despite the Royals taking a one-point lead deep in the second half, Mayer Lutheran rallied for the victory.
LHS shot 43 percent from two-point range (26-60) and made 85 percent of its free throws (17-20).
Junior Lauren Manteuffel handily led the Crusader offense with a game-high 38 points, three steals, three blocked shots, and 14 rebounds. She was 14-19 from the floor and sunk 10-10 free throws for a new school record of most points scored in a girls’ basketball game.
Senior Nico Schmidt (9), sophomore Brenna Larsen (8), and junior Josie Peters (8) were among others scoring for LHS.
Schmidt and Larsen each grabbed three steals with Manteuffel, while Peters had two, totaling 11 for the team.
Mayer Lutheran 54, Sibley East 34
In another conference game, the Crusaders toppled the Wolverines Jan. 18. Sibley East was strong out of the gate, according to Gustin, led 19-18 before the Crusaders closed out the first half on a 13-0 run.
“That kind of broke the game open a little bit,” Gustin said.
A strong start to the second half allowed LHS to make up for poor first half shooting and grab the victory.
The Crusaders made 22 of 52 field goals (42 percent) and only four of 13 three-pointers. Sibley East outrebounded Mayer Lutheran by one, but grabbed nearly twice as many offensive rebounds.
Top scorers for the Crusaders included Schmidt (14), Manteuffel (8), senior Ashlyn Hucky (7), and Bruggman (6). The Crusaders snagged 18 steals (to Sibley East’s 11) by the hands of Hucky (5), junior Shelby Sicheneder (4), and Peters (3), among others.
Bruggman led with a team-high seven rebounds, followed by Schmidt (5) and sophomore Maria Kuntz (5).
The Crusaders will face Norwood Young America and Jordan late this week and early next to battle for the top conference spots.
“To be successful, I think we’re going to have to continue to shoot well and rebound better,” he said.
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