MVL rally falls short

Staff photo by Steve Muscatello Minnesota Valley Lutheran’s Emma Nelson looks to the basket between St. Croix defenders Laura Hauge (5) and Katherine Beekman (34) Thursday at Martin Luther College in New Ulm.

NEW ULM – Despite cutting an 18-point deficit in the second half down to 6, Minnesota Valley Lutheran fell short in its comeback against St. Croix Lutheran on Thursday night, falling 63-57 in girls’ basketball action at the MLC Tipoff Tournament at Martin Luther College.

With the loss, MVL (2-2) drops to the third-place game in the Black Division at 11:15 a.m. Saturday at MVL.

After St. Croix Lutheran went on a 16-0 run in the second half to lead 46-28 with less than 12 minutes to play, things were starting to look bleak for the Chargers. But MVL didn’t let its defensive hiccups take them out of the game either.

A bucket inside by Emma Nelson stopped the Crusaders’ run and that bucket was followed up with a 3 by Lauren Paulsen to have the Chargers down 46-33. MVL was later able to cut its deficit to 52-46 after going on a 9-0 run that was capped off with a basket inside each by Abbie Riederer and Hannah Marzinske.

St. Croix chipped back at MVL, though, and grew its lead back out to double digits, 61-50, with less than two minutes to play. Riederer and Maddie Pearson each hit a late 3 to keep the Chargers in it, but the Crusaders were able to dribble the clock out and escape with the win.

MVL head coach Rollin Timm said that his team’s defense was lacking, but he was happy that the girls battled back and didn’t quit.

“We had a lapse defensively and they knew what the coaches wanted them to do, we just didn’t do it for awhile there and they [Crusaders] had a big run,” Timm said. “I was very proud of the way they continued to fight and fight back and fight back, but then it came down to just the fact that we missed too many shots that we should have made. They were makeable shots, and we’ve just got to clean that up and make those shots.”

The Chargers finished the night shooting 38.6 percent from the floor, while the Crusaders shot 40.7 percent.

MVL trailed for the majority of the first half until a 3-pointer by Kaylee Hunter gave the Chargers their first lead of the night, 24-22. St. Croix regained the lead shortly after, though, and took a 28-26 lead into halftime.

MVL was led by Marzinske with 1 2 points and three rebounds, while Riederer added 11 points and four rebounds. Pearson had 10 points and four assists, while Nelson had 9 points, 10 rebounds and four assists.

MVL also got 5 points and seven boards from Lauren Paulsen and 5 points and five steals from Hunter. St. Croix was led by Luci Hauge with 18 points, while Clara Avery added 11 points.