In Minnesota River Conference action last week, the Mayer Lutheran girls’ basketball team toppled Tri-City United 60-35 on Feb. 7.
Jumping out to an early 8-0 lead and scoring on their first four possessions, the Crusaders had opened a 20-point game by halftime (36-16). The Crusaders continued to lead by nearly 20 points throughout the second half, outscoring the Titans 24-19.
Mayer Lutheran shot 44 percent from two-point range, making 27 of 61 shots. The Crusaders missed all eight of their three-point attempts, but were 6-8 (75 percent) from the free throw line.
“That seems to have gotten better as the season has progressed,” LHS head coach Kris Gustin said of the free throws.
Sophomore Lauren Manteuffel scored 14 points to lead the Crusaders, followed by senior Nico Schmidt and sophomore Shelby Sicheneder, who both netted 10. Seniors Holly Johnson (8) and Tina Bruggman (6), along with a host of others, also contributed points.
Manteuffel led the team with nine boards, followed by Schmidt (5) and junior Josie Peters (4). The Crusaders grabbed 36 total rebounds, 12 on offense. While Mayer Lutheran won the overall battle of the boards, Gustin said the team is still working on improving its offensive rebounding skills.
“We’ve got to do our job and make sure that we hit the boards and don’t give up those second chance opportunities,” he said.
Schmidt and Peters each grabbed four steals of the team’s 21, assisted by Johnson (3), junior Krianna Boelke (2), sophomore Brenna Larsen (2), and senior Ashlyn Hucky.
The Crusaders have improved to 13-9 this season and are 8-4 in the MRC (third). They will finish out the regular season at Watertown-Mayer on Feb. 15 and at No. 5 (2A) Annandale on Feb. 19. According to Gustin, both games are important with sections just around the corner.
Against the Royals, the Crusaders will be fighting for a better section seed. While Providence Academy, Jordan, and Norwood Young America have already established their teams as the top in the section, the Crusaders and Royals will battle for spots No. 4 and 5. The No. 4 seed gets to host the first play off game.
“We need to go in and finish our conference season strong,” Gustin said.
Annandale will provide the Crusaders the opportunity to challenge themselves and see where they stand. Gustin said the team’s focus is to play to its strengths and take better care of the ball.
Contact Melissa Marohl at email@example.com