Crusaders split pair of MRC games

The Mayer Lutheran girls’ basketball team split two conference games last week against Jordan and Belle Plaine. With a 7-4 Minnesota River Conference record, the Crusaders are tied for third with Watertown-Mayer, while Jordan and Norwood Young America remained locked in a battle for the title with 10-1 records.

Jordan 66, Mayer L. 55

The week began at Jordan on Jan. 29 and the Crusaders struggled to shoot in the first half, according to LHS head coach Kris Gustin. In a nine-minute stretch, Mayer Lutheran made just one field goal.

“That makes it kind of tough,” Gustin said.

Shooting just 23 percent in the first half, the Crusaders trailed 29-17 at the break.

LHS gave up a run to Jordan to start the second half and the Jaguars extended their lead to as many as 26 points during the game.

When just under seven minutes remained in the game, it was a 19-point game, and as Mayer Lutheran slowly closed the gap, it was too little, too late for Gustin and his squad.

Mayer Lutheran shot 33 percent on the night, 20-60 field goals. Senior Ashlyn Hucky was the highest scoring Crusader with 12 points, followed by junior Lauren Manteuffel (10).

On defense, senior Nico Schmidt led the team with 15 rebounds, followed by Manteuffel and junior Krianna Boelke, who each nabbed five. Hucky had two blocked shots, while Schmidt had a team-high four steals.

Mayer L. 62, BP 51

At home against Belle Plaine on Feb. 1, the Crusaders again struggled to shoot in the first half, making only 27 percent of their baskets, including just one of their first 11 attempts.

“First half was pretty ugly,” Gustin said. “Luckily for us, [Belle Plaine] didn’t shoot well either.”

He said free throws determined the first half as Belle Plaine held a one-point 20-19 halftime lead.

Mayer Lutheran kicked off the second half with a 12-1 run, taking the lead by 10 points.

Shooting increased as LHS shot 50 percent in the second half.

“Any time you shoot 50 percent, that makes it easier,” Gustin said.

For the night, the Crusaders made 24 of 59 two-point shots (41 percent) and were 11-15 from the free throw line. Scoring leaders included Manteuffel (17), Schmidt (14), and Hucky (12).

Manteuffel (12) and senior Tina Bruggman (10) led the team in rebounds, and the Crusaders outrebounded Belle Plaine 41-18. Schmidt grabbed four steals, while Manteuffel and Hucky split the team’s six blocks.

During the game, the Crusaders held their annual Crusaders for a Cure fundraiser and Gustin estimates they raised around $4,000.

The Crusaders will play at Tri-City United tonight, Feb. 7, before hosting LeSueur-Henderson next Tuesday.

Contact Melissa Marohl at [email protected]