Crusaders head into postseason play

A pair of losses last week ended the regular season for the Mayer Lutheran girls basketball team, as the Crusaders finished with a 17-9 record. Mayer Lutheran scheduled a tough slate of opponents to prepare them for the postseason, as eight of their nine losses came at the hands of ranked teams.

“We built a tough schedule this year to prepare us for the section tournament,” coach Kris Gustin said. “A part of that tough schedule was these last two games.”

The Crusaders earned a No. 5 seed for the Section 2A Tournament, where they are set to host No. 12 Liberty Classical Academy March 2. The winner plays either No. 4 Heritage Christian Academy or No. 13 Cristo Rey Jesuit March 4, with the next game taking place at Anoka Ramsey Community College March 7 at 5:45 p.m.

This last week of play helped the Crusaders gear up for the postseason, as they took on No. 1 Mountain Iron-Buhl and No. 8 Minnehaha Academy.

Mayer Lutheran started the week with a Monday game against Mountain Iron-Buhl. While the Crusaders ultimately lost the matchup 68-55, they held on for most of the game.

“They are the No. 1 team in the state and we were right there with them,” Gustin said.

Mountain Iron-Buhl held a slim six point lead at the break before they were able to fend off the Crusaders with solid free throw shooting and timely offensive rebounds.

Emilee Gustin led the Crusaders in scoring with 17, while Mya Chmielewski added 14, Maddy Hucky poured in 11 and Sophie Flucas tallied eight. Gustin also led the team with six assists.

Hucky led the team with eight rebounds, followed by Olivia Quiram (7), Chmielewski (6), Flucas (6) and Nicole Klaustermeier (4).

Against Minnehaha Academy, a strong start from the Redhawks was too much to overcome.

Mayer Lutheran trailed 47-28 at the break, but managed to cut the lead down to six before Minnehaha pulled away again.

Hucky poured in 25 points and Chmielewski tacked on 18. Flucas nearly had a double-double, grabbing 10 boards while tallying nine points.