In a surprising twist, the undefeated conference leader Mayer Lutheran boys’ basketball team fell to Tri-City United on Jan. 21, a team that boasted just one conference win coming into the game.
With three of the Crusaders top players out with the flu early in the game, Mayer Lutheran struggled to pull ahead of the Titans, but led by seven points at halftime in a 35-28 game.
Tri-City United shut down the LHS offense in the second half, limiting the Crusaders to only 15 points and outscoring LHS 23-15 to pull off the one-point 51-50 victory.
Seniors Joe Zittergruen and Mason Diedrick led the LHS attack with 10 points each, followed by senior Jack Mocol (9). Also scoring for LHS were seniors Cole Buttenhoff (5), Chad Anenson (4), and Joel Burfeind (4), along with junior Taylor Otterstatter (4), junior Kyle Gillund (2), and sophomore Sam Schlueter (2).
What hurt the Crusaders most was a measly 7-17 night at the free throw line, while Tri-City was 11-18.
“No team should win when they are 7 of 17 from the free throw line,” LHS head coach Dan Perrel said. “Six of those little golden parachutes were missed in the final seconds of the game. Two of them were missed with .04 seconds on the clock.”
In addition, Mayer Lutheran narrowly outrebounded the Titans 30-28, but had 19 turnovers to Tri-City’s 14.
The Crusaders returned to expected playing form Friday night against Jordan, winning the conference game 68-60. Mayer Lutheran led by five at the half, 38-33, and outscored the Hubmen 30-27 in the second. Senior Anthony Gruenhagen led three LHS players in double digits, netting 26 points. Buttenhoff scored 18 points and Otterstatter hit 10 for the game. Also contributing to the LHS score were Diedrick (6), senior Mitch Krause (5), and Zittergruen (3).
Mayer Lutheran continues to lead the Minnesota River Conference with a 6-1 record, while second place Jordan fell to 6-3 after Friday’s game. Now 11-4 overall, the Crusaders will hit the road for a few games, traveling to Belle Plaine (Jan. 30) and Norwood Young America (Feb. 3), before returning to host LeSueur-Henderson Feb. 7.
Contact Melissa Marohl at [email protected]