NEW ULM - In the first stanza of the opening half, Minnesota Valley Lutheran proved it could play with the Tomahawk Conference power Wabasso.
But when the 3s stopped falling and the offensive possessions started going nowhere, Wabasso proved why it was the No. 10 team in Class A by rolling to an 80-49 victory on Friday night.
"Wabasso is an excellent team; I thought we could hang in there a little bit better, but we just didn't come to play very well tonight," said MVL coach David Biedenbender. "When you're playing against an excellent team like Wabasso with the good defense that they played, you're not going to have a good chance to win if you don't give yourselves a chance to win."
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
Minnesota Valley Lutheran’s Alexa Alfred (14) attempts to block a shot from Wabasso’s Chelsey Guetter during the first half Friday at MVL.
For more photos of this event go to cu.nujournal.com
The Rabbits (18-0, 13-0 Tomahawk) had 10 players score in the victory, including three in double figures - Larissa Rohlik (18 points), Chelsey Guetter (17) and Morgan Frank (10 points, 11 rebounds).
Wabasso coach Neil Dolan was ecstatic with his team's performance.
"We shot well, we rebounded well, our press worked - everything worked for us tonight," Dolan said. "It was a total-team effort. There wasn't really one girl on my team that played poorly and I can't say that every night - nobody can."
MVL (11-7, 7-5) stormed out of the gate, matching Wabasso's intensity during the opening quarter of the first half. Senior Charlotte Pfingsten got hot from 3-point range, draining 4-of-6 to go along with a pair of free throws for her team-high 14 points at the half.
"That really boosted us and kept us in there at the beginning," Biedenbender said of Pfingsten's shooting.
After a basket by sophomore Johanna Kettner gave MVL an 18-17 lead, Wabasso caught fire and finished the half on a 28-12 run to take a 45-30 lead at the break.
Despite Pfingsten's sharp shooting from 3-point range in the first half, Wabasso shot 50 percent (7-of-14) from beyond the arc and finished the game shooting 12-of-26 from downtown.
"On a night like tonight when we hit those shots, we're tough to beat because we've got big girls inside too," Dolan said. "Morgan Frank, Chelsey Guetter can go inside-out, we're just tough to beat."
MVL was unable to climb back from the 15-point halftime deficit, scoring 19 points in the second half while allowing Wabasso to run a 35-point train until the final buzzer.
"We're going to have to respond better when we play against good teams," Biedenbender said. "We're going to have to come out and match their intensity and make some shots in order to be successful."
Pfingsten had a game-high 22 points, while Anna Munsen added nine and Kettner had eight off the bench.
MVL will play at Wabasso in the regular-season finale on Feb. 24, which Dolan said will cap off a tough final stretch that includes Windom Area and defending state champion Minneota.
"This is a great part of our season because we've got to come to play to win," Dolan said. "When we play like we did tonight, it gives us some confidence and gets us ready for the playoffs."
Wabasso will play Saturday at Windom Area in a nonconference contest, while MVL will host Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial on Monday in a makeup game from Jan. 30.
Wabasso 45 35 - 80
MVL 30 19 - 49
L Rohlik 6-11 0-0 18, Eichten 3-4 1-2 7, K Rothmeier 0-3 2-2 2, Guetter 5-11 6-6 17, Frank 3-6 4-6 10, Liebl 2-5 0-0 6, Franta 3-6 0-0 9, C Rohlik 2-3 1-1 5, M Goblirsch 2-2 0-0 4, Taylor 0-2 0-0 0, J Rothmeier 0-0 0-0 0, J Goblirsch 1-1 0-0 2, Baune 0-1 0-0 0.
Stein 1-3 0-0 2, Moldstad 2-10 0-0 5, Alfred 1-1 0-0 2, Pfingsten 7-13 2-2 22, Munsen 4-10 1-2 9, Kettner 3-5 2-2 8, Olsen 1-3 0-0 2, Diersen 0-2 0-0 0, Schlottman 0-1 0-0 0, Santelman 0-2 0-0 0.