NEW ULM - It's hard to beat Minnesota Valley Lutheran's wave.
That's wave, as in the girls basketball team's ability to essentially throw two starting lineups into games and wear opponents down so a contest that's close in the early going becomes a blowout in the final nine minutes.
The Chargers showed that ability again Tuesday night as they turned a six-point halftime lead into a 51-34 victory over the New Ulm Cathedral Greyhounds.
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
New Ulm Cathedral’s Lindsay Simon (35) has her shot blocked by Anna Munsen of Minnesota Valley Lutheran during the first half Tuesday at CHS. Looking on in the background are Mariah Schoof of MVL and Paige Pautzke (25) of CHS.
"There was good defense on both sides and each team made it hard to run the other's offense," MVL coach Dave Biedenbender said. "I thought they [Cathedral] were a little tired at the end. We knew it was going to be a grinder. We just had to be more patient with the ball in the end."
The game started off with a playoff-type atmosphere, with the Chargers sitting at 13-1 and the Greyhounds coming in at 6-2. There were no easy baskets for either side, with MVL taking five-point leads twice in the early going, but Cathedral hung on and was down 14-13 after two free throws by Karlee Pfaff.
It was the Chargers who controlled the all important rebound game, though, and a late surge by MVL with six consecutive points on offensive boards by Sarah Burk and Martha Johnston ended the first half with the Chargers holding a 25-19 lead.
The energy and defensive efforts were there in the second half through the first nine minutes, until MVL's Mariah Schoof nailed a 3-pointer to make it 39-28 with 9:10 left in the game.
That's when the Chargers went to a full-court press to start wearing down the Greyhounds. Cathedral turned the ball over twice in a row and MVL converted on both of them to give the Chargers a 43-28 margin with eight minutes remaining.
The Chargers' lead stood at 44-31 with 5:20 left, and it became time for MVL to start milking the clock. The Greyhounds didn't have good shot selection all night, and nothing changed in the final minutes. Unlike its 2-for-8 shooting from the free throw line in the first half, MVL shot 14-for-17 in the second half, including its last eight. That, plus outrebounding the Greyhounds 38-22 overall, helped contribute to the victory.
Schoof led all scorers with 14 points, while Burk contributed eight points and 10 rebounds. Lisa Helget scored 13 for Cathedral.
MVL hosts Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop at 7:30 p.m on Friday night, while Cathedral travels to Morgan to play Cedar Mountain/Comfrey at 7:30 p.m. on Friday.