Belle Plaine holds off New Ulm

Staff photo by Steve Muscatello New Ulm’s Connor Foley takes a shot despite defensive pressure from Nathan Herman of Belle Plaine Monday at NUHS. For more photos of this event go to cu.nujournal.com

NEW ULM — Brody Curtiss’ layup with three seconds left in the game erased New Ulm’s only lead  and lifted Belle Plaine to a 51-50 win over New Ulm Monday in a nonconference boys’ basketball game.

Nathan Herman paced the Tigers (11-10 ) with a game-high 20 points. Noah Hastings and Curtiss each added 11 points.

Connor Foley led the Eagles (5-14) with 18 points with Cooper Yackley adding 14.

“I thought that our kids showed great poise and confidence,” Eagles’ coach Adam Tyhurst said. “We came back from a 14-point deficit to having a one-point lead with 10 seconds to go. They did a nice job of chipping away at a game that was getting out of hand.”

New Ulm trailed 41-27 after two Hastings’ free throws when Tyhurst  called a timeout with 13:10 left in the game.

“I told them the same thing that I tell them before we start a game,” he said “I told them that we have to communicate defensively. Whether we are up or down we have to do a better job communicating and defending.”

That message set in as the Eagles  slowly chipped away at the Tigers’ lead.

A Noah Hauge 3-pointer began a spurt that saw the Eagles outscore Belle Plaine 11-3 and cut the lead to  46-41.

Baskets from Yackley and Foley pulled New Ulm to within five points.

Down 49-46 with just over two minutes to go, the Eagles, who host Albert Lea Thursday, took their first and only lead of the game on baskets from Yackley and Reece Melby with 10 seconds left in the game.

After Curtiss’ basket, New Ulm called a timeout with three seconds left but could not get a shot off.

“We are a good team,” Tyhurst said. “This is another loss by one point at the end of a game. You can chalk it up to seven of eight of them now. We have to do a better job of doing what we can take care of. That starts with defense and communicating.”

New Ulm did not come out of the blocks well in the game, spotting Belle Plaine an early 8-1 lead as Herman and Hastings canned 3-pointers. It was the ability to hit the 3 in the first 17 minutes that gave the Tigers a 30-25 halftime lead as they made five of 11 shots from beyond the arc.

“They shot the three well in the first half (and 11 of 18 for the game) and that is again an example of defense,” Tyhurst said. “We were out of position — they have kids who can really shoot the ball. We have to do a better job of recognizing that.”

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