Mayer Lutheran girls split pair of games

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The Mayer Lutheran girls basketball team lost a third close game when they fell 70-63 against St. Peter, before bouncing back with a 77-40 win over Belle Plaine.

“We feel good about where we’re at, we just need to finish games,” coach Kris Gustin said.

After losing a pair of games that went down to the wire the week before, Mayer Lutheran again played in a competitive game that they ultimately lost. While the Crusaders lost, they once again showcased that they can compete with the top teams.

“We know we are a good team,” Gustin said. “When we do the little things we are hard to beat. We just have to be consistent.”

The Crusaders and Saints were tied 35-35 at halftime and continued to go back-and-forth to start the second half. St. Peter got some key buckets to take the lead, but Mayer Lutheran responded with a series of inbounds plays that netted the Crusaders points. Mayer Lutheran also got some sharpshooting from Mya Chmielewski and Brooke Paulsrud, who both hit from beyond the arc in the early going.

Down the stretch, St. Peter was tough to stop, converting on 11 of their final 14 possessions. The offensive might of the Saints allowed them to pull away in the closing minutes, as they won 70-63.

Emilee Gustin led the Crusaders with 18 points, followed by Chmielewski (16), Maddy Hucky (11), Paulsrud (5), Sophie Flucas (4), Nicole Klaustermeier (4), Oliva Quiram (3) and Kate Strehlke (2). Gustin also dished out a team-high seven assists and hauled in eight rebounds.

After the loss, the Crusaders bounced back with a commanding 37-point victory over the Belle Plaine Tigers.

Mayer Lutheran started strong with the game’s first 11 points, and ended the first half on a 24-2 run to take a 45-14 lead into the break. The Crusaders offense worked like a well-oiled machine on the way to a 77-40 win, as they dished out 21 assists. Hucky, Chmielewski and Emilee Gustin each tallied five in the win, while Klaustermeier picked up two. Strehlke, Paulsrud, Katelyn Shipler and Anna Wacholz each added one assist as well.

Hucky led the team in scoring with 18 points, followed by Chmielewski (14), Emilee Gustin (13), Flucas (7), Quiram (7), Strehlke (5), Olivia Tjernagel (5), Klaustermeier (4), Symone Jopp (3) and Shipler (1).

Chmielewski led the Crusaders in rebounding (9) and steals (6).

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