By Jake Ziel
Journal Sports Writer
NEW ULM - It seemed as though every time Minnesota Valley Lutheran closed the gap, Martin County West answered with a clutch 3-pointer.
The visiting Mavericks tallied eight 3-pointers on the evening, including three during an 11-0 second half run that paved the way for a 74-61 nonconference victory over MVL.
MVL fell behind 16-7 early and was forced to play catch-up the rest of the way.
The Chargers came within five points on numerous occasions in the first half, but the Mavericks always seemed to have the answer from behind the arc.
Despite five 3-pointers from MCW, the Chargers trailed by just eight at halftime.
The second half was almost a carbon copy of the first half.
MVL cut the lead to 48-42 on the first field goal of the game by leading scorer Chad Lease, but this was as close as they would get.
A 3-pointer from Alex Biehn and two consecutive 3-pointers from Richard Eckmann pushed the lead to 57-42, allowing the Mavericks to complete a 74-61 win.
MVL battled tough all night, but were overcome by clutch shooting from the Mavericks.
"They had a couple guys who could hit the three," MVL coach Craig Morgan said. "We could get out on them but they were just taller than we were and they knocked them down."
Along with the hot shooting from MCW came an off night for a few of MVL's top offensive players. Lease and Jacob Hoffman combined for just two field goals all night, but Morgan liked the way the rest of the team picked them up.
"Somebody has a bad night and somebody else has to step up," Morgan said. "Eric Westphal had an outstanding game for us and Tim Plocher came in and played some nice defense."
Westphal finished the evening with a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds. Nick Dewanz added 10 points and nine rebounds, while Lease finished with 10 points.
Despite the loss, Morgan and the Chargers took away some good things from the game.
"We were happy with our free throws, we were 20-24, and we only had seven turnovers which is huge for us," Morgan said.
MVL drops to 6-11 overall and will play at St. Clair on Thursday.