By Andrew Westra
Journal Sports Writer
NEW ULM - In what could be a preview of the Section 2A championship, Minnesota Valley Lutheran defeated Mankato Loyola 72-62 in a non-conference girls' basketball game on Monday.
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
Minnesota Valley Lutheran senior Larissa DeRousse looks to shoot as a Mankato Loyola player defends on the play during the first half Monday at MVL.
Sarah Burk drew first blood for the Chargers on senior night with an easy layup just seconds into the game, 3-pointers by Pfingsten and Chrissy Biedenbender to build a 49-33 lead early in the second half.
The extremely physical nature of the game was evident when both teams were in the bonus with 9:36 remaining in the second half.
"We realized it was going to be a physical game from the start," Schoof said. "We just told ourselves that we had to buckle down and play a strong, physical game like [Loyola] was."
Loyola managed to shave MVL's lead to just six points with six minutes left in the game, but that was as close as the Crusaders got.
The Chargers shot better from the foul stripe in the second half, and they were able to close the game out at the line.
In the end, MVL came out on top.
"It was fun for all of us to end our season strong," Schoof said. "[Loyola] Is a very good team, and this was definitely a very nice win."
Schoof led the Chargers with 15 points, six rebounds, five steals, and five assists.
Anna Munsen, Alexa Alfred, and Martha Johnston also had six rebounds apiece to help MVL out-rebound Loyola 35-28 as a team.
Pfingsten scored 12 points, while Burk had nine points for the game.
MVL (21-4, 13-3) will open Section 2A, North Sub-Section play next Tuesday against the winner of Sleepy Eye and Buffalo Lake-Hector-Stewart.
"Winning this game definitely gives us the mindset that we can beat anyone in our section, but we know anything can happen on any given night," Schoof said. "We are staying humble and trying not to get big heads going into the playoffs."