For the first time in a long time, the Crusader girls’ basketball team had a 2-0 week last week, picking up a Minnesota River Conference win over Sibley East and also defeating Lester Prairie.
At Lester Prairie on Jan. 21, the Crusaders led 37-24 after the first half and would win the game 65-51, but the Bulldogs constant pressure on the ball caused a sky-high 34 turnovers for LHS.
“Regardless of the score, it was constant pressure,” LHS head coach Kris Gustin said, describing Lester Prairie’s scrappy, physical defense. “We didn’t do a very good job of handling that.”
Four Crusaders hit double digits point totals, including senior Lauren Manteuffel and junior Maria Kuntz, who each netted 13 points, and senior Josie Peters and junior Brenna Larsen at 10 points each. Senior Shelby Sicheneder was just shy of double digits with nine Crusader points.
Sicheneder (7), sophomore Kalie Winter (6), and Kuntz (5) led in rebounds, while the Crusader defense also snagged 22 steals from Lester Prairie. Senior Krianna Boelke, Sicheneder, and freshman Emilee Gustin each had four, while Larsen stole three.
After opening their Jan. 23 game at Sibley East on a 18-3 run, the Crusaders got into foul trouble in the first half and led by just six points at intermission with a 27-21 lead. Just six of the Wolverine’s points came on baskets, the remaining 15 were successful free throws.
“[Sibley East] just kind of chipped away, made free throws,” Gustin said.
In the second half, the Crusaders were able to open and maintain a double digit lead, outscoring the Wolverines 32-23 for the eventual 59-44 MRC victory.
Turnovers decreased to 21 for LHS, but Gustin said the team’s goal is to be below 20.
“Something we talk about each day is valuing the ball and making the right pass at the right time,” he said.
Emilee Gustin was the only Crusader to score double digits, netting 13 points. Also scoring for LHS were Manteuffel (9), Sicheneder (9), and Larsen (8), among others.
The Crusaders are now 10-7 overall and 4-3 in the MRC (fourth). Tuesday’s game against Tri-City United was postponed. The Crusaders will host Jordan tomorrow night, Jan. 31 at 7:30 p.m. Next week, LHS travels to Belle Plaine on Feb. 6.
Contact Melissa Marohl at email@example.com