After a postseason run no one predicted, the Mayer Lutheran boys’ basketball team’s season has ended. It was a long journey, as the Crusaders first defeated Norwood Young America, then upset No. 1 Jordan and No. 2 Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted to land in the Section 5AA finals against Annandale.
LHS head coach Dan Perrel said the trip to the section championship was a long one, after the team had to adjust to Perrel’s new system of basketball.
“That we went to the section championship game is a testimony to the guys’ desire to improve and to learn during the season,” he said.
Mayer Lutheran 47, HLWW 45
In exciting fashion on March 12, the No. 4 seeded Crusaders upset the No. 2 South HLWW Lakers in a 47-45 win. The game stayed tight all evening, and with a last second three-point shot, LHS tied the game at 22-22 at halftime.
Still tied at 34-34 with six minutes to play in the game, the Lakers began to open a slight lead after the Crusaders had reached eight fouls, sending a HLWW player to the free throw line with each foul. LHS had reached ten fouls by the 3:50 mark, which HLWW sat at five.
With 27.5 seconds to play, the Crusaders trailed by one point (45-44) but HLWW had possession of the ball. The Lakers kept possession and wound the clock down to under 10 seconds.
Patience by the Crusaders allowed senior Tanner Luebke to sink a three-point shot with just seconds remaining to take the lead and the game.
Juniors Anthony Gruenhagen and Mason Diedrick led the LHS attack with 14 and 12 points, respectively. Also scoring for Mayer Lutheran were senior Phil Burfeind (7), freshman Sam Schlueter (6), junior Chad Anenson (5), and Luebke (3).
Annandale 60, Mayer Lutheran 38
In the Section 5AA final on March 15, the Crusaders met the Annandale Cardinals at St. Cloud State University.
Mayer Lutheran’s only lead of the game was very early. The Cardinals soon took over and would not relent for the rest of the night. Annandale led 36-22 at halftime and outscored LHS 24-16 in the second half. Perrel said the Cardinals deserved to win the game based on their level of play.
“Losing the section championship game is hard on everyone on the team, but we walk away knowing that Annandale played outstanding, has outstanding coaching, and understands the caliber of play needed to withstand the challenges of playoff basketball,” he said. “Can we play with the same poise, determination, calm, and skill that they played with … well, let’s just say that the game really helped whet the appetite of our guys for getting back to that level of competition again next season.”
Junior Cole Buttenhoff led LHS with 10 points, followed by Gruenhagen (8), Anenson (7), Luebke (5), Joel Burfeind (2), Phil Burfeind (2), Diedrick (2), and Schlueter (2). The Crusaders shot 27 percent from two-point range (12-45), and 30 percent from beyond the arc (6-20).
In comparison, Annandale shot 58 percent from two-point range (21-36) and 53 percent from the three-point arc (9-17).
Annandale grabbed just one more rebound than LHS, 25-24, but the Crusaders tallied an impressive 15 offensive rebounds to the Cardinals’ six. Rebounding was balance across the team and included Anenson (4), Joel Burfeind (4), Schlueter (4), Diedrick (3), Luebke (3), Gruenhagen (3), Buttenhoff (2), and Phil Burfeind (1). Gruenhagen and Schlueter each blocked a shot. LHS tallied 11 steals off the quick hands of Joel Burfeind (4), Luebke (3), Phil Burfeind, Schlueter, Gruenhagen, and senior Dustin Edmison.
Look for a full wrap up next week.
Contact Melissa Marohl at email@example.com