NEW ULM - New Ulm Cathedral's only 3-pointer of the game turned out to be its biggest shot of the game.
After scaling a 26-20 deficit to crosstown rival Minnesota Valley Lutheran to tie the game 26-26, senior Karlee Pfaff drained a 3 that gave Cathedral its first lead of the second half as well as all the momentum in the world. Cathedral used said momentum to beat MVL 39-33 in Tomahawk Conference girl's basketball on Monday night.
"To be honest, I was a little worried when they went up 26-20 because we just didn't have any flow," said Cathedral coach Jeremy Drexler. "But we got two buckets, cut it to two.
"Karlee just took a shot within the flow of our offense and that's when she's at her best - when she's not thinking about it."
The win for Cathedral (6-3, 3-3 Tomahawk) is its first against MVL since Jan. 24, 2012, when it won 37-34 at home.
"[MVL is] usually at the top of the conference, so tonight was a huge win," said Cathedral senior Kristin Mohr, who had a game-high 14 points. "We came into the game knowing it was going to be a battle."
The Chargers (7-3, 4-2), who have now lost two-straight games, could not muster an answer once the Greyhounds took the lead following Pfaff's 3-pointer.
"I don't know," said MVL coach David Biedenbender when asked of his team's troubles. "If I knew that, we wouldn't be losing games. We're playing against good teams and Cathedral played a great game against us tonight.
"We need to look at what we can do to get better, but I'm not sure what that is right now."
Anna Munsen led MVL with 13 points, but shot 5-of-16 from the floor. Cathedral posts Lindsay Simon and Anne Schwarz contained Munsen for most of the game, forcing her into rushing her shots and taking away the easy buckets.
"We played really good defense tonight, which is something we always like to stress," Mohr said.
Despite being pressed by Cathedral on the offensive end, MVL held a 17-14 first-half lead and jumped out to a 24-18 advantage early in the second after a 3-pointer by Charlotte Pfingsten.
"Defensively, we feel like we're really good; but sometimes we get so frustrated offensively that it carries over to our defense and we kind of get sloppy," Drexler said. "We really stressed that no matter how things are going offensively to keep working on defense and keep making them work."
A jumper by Nicole Moldstad cut Cathedral's lead to 35-31 with 1:42 to go, which forced Drexler to call a timeout.
Out of the timeout, Munsen got the ball on the wing, poised to drive to the basket and cut Cathedral's lead to two. However, senior Kelli Eckstein stripped Munsen of the ball with 1:14 to go, immediately followed by a string of MVL fouls to stop the clock.
Mohr and Pfaff proceeded to hit a combined 4-for-8 from the free-throw line within that string of fouls, but that was all they needed to seal the win for Cathedral.
"Cathedral played a great game tonight," Biedenbender said. "They've got a good team and we've got to figure out how we can become a better team ourselves."
MVL will get a break from Tomahawk Conference basketball on Tuesday, when it will face Nicollet on the road. Cathedral returns to action on Friday, when it hosts Cedar Mountain/Comfrey.
NUC 14 25 - 39
MVL 17 16 - 33
NUC: Kristin Mohr 5-13 4-8 14, Karlee Pfaff 3-10 3-5 10, Anne Schwarz 5-10 0-1 10, Leah Krzmarzick 2-6 1-2 5.
MVL: Anna Munsen 5-16 3-4 13, Alexa Alfred 2-5 5-7 9, Charlotte Pfingsten 2-13 0-0 5.