NEW ULM - The Sleepy Eye girls basketball team was hoping that history could repeat and the Indians could pull off an upset over Minnesota Valley Lutheran in the quarterfinals of the Section 2A, North Subsection playoffs.
The Chargers, on the other hand, were just hoping to avoid all of that drama and move on to the second round.
The top-seeded Chargers did just that, defeating the Indians 60-40 Tuesday night. The win means the Chargers will face Cedar Mountain/Comfrey at 6 p.m. Friday night at Glencoe-Silver Lake.
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
Sleepy Eye’s Claire Krumbach (left) and Minnesota Valley Lutheran’s Sarah Burk grab a rebound at the same time during the first half the their Section 2A playoff game Tuesday at MVL.
The Indians, who were the eighth-seed in this year's playoffs, upset the Chargers a year ago as the No. 7 seed and made it all the way to the state tournament. They didn't have the momentum this year, finishing the season at 9-18.
The Chargers were hot from outside, hitting eight 3-pointers in the contest.
"They wore us out, but they shot the heck out of the ball," Sleepy Eye coach Ryan Hulke said. "We shot 28 percent and we're not the greatest shooting team, we're young."
With a roster full of underclassmen, the Indians should be a force down the road. But on Tuesday, it was the veteran Chargers' turn as senior Chrissy Biedenbender led the way with 12 points.
The Indians took a 5-0 lead early on, but the Chargers re-grouped and responded with a 6-0 run of their own. A 3-pointer by Mariah Schoof put MVL up 11-9 and the Chargers never trailed again.
"We knew we had to come out strong right away and not worry about how last year was," Biedenbender said.
The Chargers had three players in double figures, led by Biedenbender, Larissa DeRousse (11 points) and Schoof (10 points, seven rebounds). Anna Munsen had eight points and eight rebounds and Nicole Moldstad had seven points.
"It really helps having a variety of scorers because we don't just rely on one person," Biedenbender said. "We have great team chemistry and it helps to have a lot of good players."
The 3-pointer really benefitted the Chargers in the second half. They hit five in the second half to stretch the lead to as many as 26 points.
Sleepy Eye was led by McKayla Alhrich's 12 points and seven rebounds. Josie Schieffert had 11 points and seven rebounds and Justine Gonzalez had 10 points.
The Chargers (22-4) have to get ready to face another Tomahawk Conference opponent Friday in the Cougars.
The Indians will use the offseason to continue to improve and build towards the future. With so much youth on the squad, the future looks bright.
"Tonight they finally realized what a playoff basketball game was like, it's an absolute war," Hulke said. "We learned from it and hopefully we can take that moving forward."