NEW ULM - The New Ulm Cathedral girls basketball team survived a big second half comeback as the red-hot Greyhounds defeated Tomahawk Conference rival Springfield 43-41 and increased their winning streak to five games Tuesday night.
Paige Pautzke led the Greyhounds (6-2, 4-1) with 12 points, six rebounds, four steals and three assists. Karlee Pfaff added 13 points while Anne Schwarz tacked on five points and five boards.
Springfield outscored Cathedral 28-20 in the second half, but 13 first half points doomed the Tigers.
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
Springfield’s Jordan Salonek (23) ties up the ball before Anne Schwarz of New Ulm Cathedral can shoot during the first half Tuesday at CHS. Looking on is the Tigers’ Samantha Groebner.
"They just had some runs on us and that has been the story all year," Springfield coach Paul Arnoldi said. "We haven't been very consistent for all 36 minutes - having a run here and a run there - we just need to learn from this. We're getting better as far as playing the entire game, but we just have to continue to play more possessions."
It was a very low scoring affair for both teams almost all of the first half. Cathedral finally got into double-digits when Karlee Pfaff nailed a 3-pointer and followed up with two free throws with 9:39 to go.
Springfield tied it up 12-12 and a bucket from Lindsay Simon with four minutes remaining sparked the Greyhounds offense as they went on a 9-1 run and took a 23-13 lead into the break.
Springfield matched its 13 points just over six minutes into the half and a lay-up by Jordan Salonek with 10:50 to play tied the game at 28-28.
The Tigers increased that lead to 32-28 on scores from Tiffany Schwanke and Salonek, but Cathedral went on another big run as it outscored Springfield 13-2 to take a 41-34 lead with 5:47 left to play.
However, Springfield wasn't ready to give up.
The Tigers clawed all the way back and found themselves down 42-41 and a huge defensive stand with just under a minute to go set-up the Tigers for a chance to win it.
Springfield's Samantha Groebner got tagged with a 3-second violation with :34 left and the Tigers were forced to foul Cathedral senior Lisa Helget.
Helget missed her first shot and the second shot bounced out and once again the Tigers had a chance to go down and win the game.
Schwanke had an open jump-shot with less than 15 seconds remaining. but the ball bounced off the rim and rattled around before it hopped out and Cathedral's Kristin Mohr grabbed the rebound, forcing Springfield to foul.
Mohr made her first attempt, but the second shot came up short and Springfield used its final timeout. Once again Springfield had a chance to send it into overtime, or go for the win.
The in-bound pass was a success for Springfield, but extremely tough defense by Cathedral forced Springfield to take an awkward 3-pointer and the shot missed everything and the Greyhounds escaped with the victory.
"I knew it was going to be close - Springfield is a very good team," Cathedral coach Mary Dengerud said. "They like to break - they are explosive at times and we knew it was going to be tough. In the first half we were really tough, in the second half we were a little tentative, but when we needed to defend we got it done."
Springfield falls to 3-4 overall and 2-3 in the conference with the loss. Cathedral started the season 1-2 and now a five game win streak puts the Greyhounds at a 6-2 overall record and third place in the conference standings.
Dengerud knows her team has some work to do to keep the success going.
"We have been starting to click as of the last week and a half or so," she said. "We just have to keep working on and perfecting what we're doing because everyday we can get better."
Cathedral will be back in action on Jan. 3 when it hosts Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial and Springfield will play at St. Clair on Thursday.