NEW ULM - It was a bit of a masquerade ball at Minnesota Valley Lutheran Tuesday night.
The 0-12 Buffalo Lake-Hector-Stewart Mustangs didn't look like a winless girls basketball team and the MVL Chargers didn't play like they were 16-1.
But in the end, the Chargers prevailed 65-52 in Tomahawk Conference action, helped by 28 BLHS turnovers and going 16-for-20 at the free throw line.
While MVL coach Dave Biedenbender was happy with the win, he knows his team is capable of much more.
"They're [BLHS] not a winless team," Biedenbender said. "We played so well defensively early, but we missed shots and let them stay in the game and gave them confidence. But we played well enough in the second half."
Meanwhile, Mustangs coach James Bertsch is confident his team will not be taken lightly the rest of the year and into the playoffs.
"Our conference is tough," Bertsch said. "Our shooting's been missing, but tonight we played well. We had to go zone most of the game because I knew we didn't match up well, but we can't hang our heads because we hung in there."
Mariah Schoof and Anna Munsen started strong for MVL, helping the Chargers off to a 13-4 lead. BLHS then outscored MVL 9-4 and cut the Chargers' lead to 17-13 midway through the first half. A Nicole Moldstad 3-pointer opened up a 28-19 margin for MVL, but the Mustangs fought back by scoring the next seven points, four from Michelle Melsha, to cut the lead to 28-26 early in the second half.
BLHS really hurt itself with turnovers, though, with Moldstad and Chrissy Biedenbender nailing 3s to re-open the MVL lead to 41-33 with 10 minutes left in the game. The Chargers then went on an 11-4 run, ending with a 3 by Larissa DeRousse that made it 52-37.
While MVL was able to march to the free throw line and hit 10-for-11, the major offense by BLHS was three 3-pointers that were too late and seven turnovers in the final eight minutes of the game.
Despite the loss, the Mustangs still had three players in double figures, with Melsha leading all scorers with 16, and Hannah VanderVoort and Maara Olinger each adding 10.
Munsen and Sarah Burk both had 12 for the Chargers, while combining for 14 rebounds, with Martha Johnston adding 10 points.
MVL hosts Springfield on Friday night at 7:30 p.m., while BLHS travels to play Central Minnesota Christian at 7:30 p.m. Monday in Prinsburg.