Crusaders topple conference leader Jordan

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The Mayer Lutheran boys basketball team continued to roll last week, as the Crusaders went on to win their seventh consecutive game with a 76-75 win over Jordan. The Crusaders capitalized on the momentum they have built up over the last few weeks to defeat the conference rival and hand the Hubmen their third loss of the season.

“It was a great team effort,” said Kobey Woolhouse. “We knew we had momentum coming in. We knew any team is beatable on any given night, and we came out with intensity to win the game.”

The Crusaders built on their first half lead with aggressive play in the second half. Mayer Lutheran constantly probed the lane with slicing drives, getting rewarded with 27 free throw attempts.

The effort to drive to the rim also paid off in another way, giving the Crusaders a bunch of open three pointers.

“We know in a zone, we get people to look [the opposite way], and a lot of times it’s wide open,” Woolhouse said. “We capitalized on the opportunities that they gave us.”

In the second half alone, Woolhouse and Cole Hagen combined for five three-pointers from the same spot. The sharpshooting juniors set up in the corner in front of their bench, draining down open jumpers with ease. Woolhouse finished the game with eight buckets from beyond the arc, netting 37 points in the win. Hagen hit three three-pointers on the way to 12 points.

Though Mayer Lutheran was playing well, defeating the conference favorites was no easy task. The Hubmen rode senior center Jimmy Vollbrecht’s 38 points to get within one point of the Crusaders with under 2 minutes remaining.

“Jordan is a really good team,” Woolhouse said. “They shot free throws very well and they moved it inside – Jimmy is a great player.”

But Woolhouse’s poise at the free throw line kept Jordan at bay, and a free throw from Matt Menth clinched the win, as the junior put the lead at four with under 4 seconds to play.

“We played great, we didn’t fold under pressure,” Woolhouse said. “We really showed a lot of maturity. It’s really good momentum. We’ve got a little streak going, might as well keep it going.”

In addition to Woolhouse’s 37 and Hagen’s 12, Garrett Tjernagel scored 13 points, Baden Noenning netted seven, McHayl Diedrick tallied three, and both Menth and Mitchell Johnson added two.

The seventh straight win puts Mayer Lutheran at 12-7 on the season, as the young team starts to flourish.

“I feel like we’ve really grown as a team, ever since Cleveland and we just keep going up,” Woolhouse said. “I just want to keep this going.”