Last week, the Mayer Lutheran boys’ basketball team first lost to Jordan before defeating Belle Plaine a few nights later. With an overall record of 12-7, the Crusaders are 8-3 in the Minnesota River Conference (second), trailing Jordan at 9-1.
Jordan 62, Mayer L. 59
After Mayer Lutheran led 32-26 at halftime on Feb. 5, the Hubman came back in the second half to tie the game 57-57 at the end of regulation. In overtime, Jordan would outscore Mayer Lutheran 5-2 for the conference victory.
LHS head coach Dan Perrel said Jordan played a physical game, forcing the Crusaders to take more perimeter shots, an area where they have struggled.
“One of the last things you want to be as a team is streaky from the perimeter,” he said. “Fortunately, we’re not streaky. We’re pretty consistent in fairly poor shooting.”
The Crusaders shot 38 percent from two-point range (17-45) and only 22 percent from beyond the arc (5-23). LHS stayed in the game thanks to free throws, of which the team was 8-11 (73 percent).
Junior Anthony Gruenhagen led the Crusader charge with 19 points, followed by junior Chad Anenson. Freshman Sam Schlueter (8), senior Tanner Luebke (6), senior Phil Burfeind (4), junior Joel Burfeind (4), and junior Brandon Wroge (3) also scored for Mayer Lutheran.
The Crusaders outrebounded the Hubman 44-32, snagging 14 offensive rebounds to Jordan’s five. The Crusaders grabbed 12 steals and committed 17 turnovers.
Perrel said he wants every member of the team to be confident in taking shots when open.
“Building that kind of program just takes time and patience,” he said. “Our guys are willing to put in the time, and we’re willing to be patient for the great outcome.”
Mayer L. 62, Belle P. 47
Hosting Belle Plaine on Feb. 8, the Crusaders played hard defense all night, according to Perrel, and the results showed.
“Playing solid defense is an absolute must if you’re going to win against solid teams,” he said. “No magic there; just a lot of very hard work.”
The Crusaders led 37-28 at halftime and outscored Belle Plaine 25-19 in the second half. Four Crusaders scored in double digits, led by junior Mike Vigil with 13 points. Gruenhagen, Schlueter, and junior Cole Buttenhoff each netted 10 points for LHS.
Mayer Lutheran was 8-24 from three-point range, assisted by Buttenhoff (2-3) and Vigil (3-5). The Crusaders shot 38 percent from within the arc (15-40) with the help of Gruenhagen (4-8), Buttenhoff (2-4), and Schlueter (4-6). The team also made eight of 12 free throw attempts.
Rebounding was balanced between the teams, with LHS grabbing 32 boards to Jordan’s 31.
The Crusaders will host LeSueur-Henderson on Feb. 19, before a string of road games at Watertown-Mayer (Feb. 22), Holy Family (Feb. 25), and No. 6 (1A) Heritage Christian.
Contact Melissa Marohl at email@example.com