Strong, slashing athletic guards, an imposing inside presence, and a defense that contested every look were the difference makers on Tuesday, Feb. 2, when the Mayer Lutheran Crusaders (5-0, 6-1) took a 65-57 girls basketball victory from the Belle Plaine Tigers in a matchup of Minnesota River Conference front runners.

“They played very well,” said Coach Mindy Chevalier, whose Tigers (4-1, 5-2) typically impose a similar formula to dispose of its foes.

“Defensively, we had a hard time hanging with their athleticism, and we just couldn’t string a run together,” she explained.

Leah Lenz’s two-point basket six minutes into the contest gave Belle Plaine a 15-14 lead, but it was its last lead of the night. Mayer Lutheran stretched its advantage to 26-17 seven minutes later, but the Tigers pulled to within 31-29 at halftime.

The Crusaders controlled the game for much of the second half, stretching its lead to 59-42 with just over four minutes to play.

But a 15-2 Tigers run pulled Belle Plaine to 61-57 with 29 seconds remaining. Sarah Lenz’s three-point attempt wouldn’t fall, and the Crusaders iced the game on the free throw line.

“Everything was contested,” said Chevalier, whose team shot just 38 percent from the field, including 5-of-19 from the three-point line. “We need to do a better job of being physical.”

Leah Lenz led the Tigers with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Sarah Lenz had 14 points and Lauren Johnson 11. Lizzy Schmidt had nine points, six rebounds, and a couple steals.

BP vs. LS-H - Feb. 5

The Tigers responded on Friday night, Feb. 5, with a 61-39 victory over visiting LeSueur-Henderson (1-5, 2-5).

“We got back on track,” Chevalier said. Johnson had 18 points and Sarah Lenz 11 in a game that saw nine Tigers score.

“Everyone played well. We went back to a team approach and had very balanced scoring.”

Chevalier said the Tigers 2-2-1 pressure helped generate some tempo.

Haylee O’Brien and Leah Lenz had nine points each.

Looking Ahead

The Tigers welcome Southwest Christian (3-2, 3-4) on Thursday night, Feb. 11, and Sibley East next Tuesday, Feb. 16.

Girls Basketball Standings (Conference, Overall)

Mayer Lutheran..........5-0, 6-1

Belle Plaine.................4-1, 5-2

NYA.............................3-2, 3-2

SW Christian...............3-2, 3-4

TCU.............................1-3, 1-6

LS-H............................1-5, 2-5

Sibley East...................1-5, 1-6

Recent Scores

TCU 56, LS-H 45

Mayer Lutheran 65, Belle Plaine 57

SWC 72, Sibley East 69

Mayer Lutheran 81, United Christian Academy 34

SWC 54, TCU 34

NYA 61, Sibley East 23

BPHS Girls Basketball Team Schedule and Results

Jan. 14: L -  Jordan 55, BP 49

Jan. 19: W - BP 83, GSL 59

Jan. 22: W - BP 56, SE 31

Jan. 25: W - BP 79, NYA 43

Jan. 28: W - BP 62, TCU 36

Feb. 2:  L -  Mayer Luth. 65,        BP 57

Feb. 5:  W - BP 61, LS-H 39

Feb. 11: 7:15 vs. SWC

Feb. 16: 7:15 vs. SE

Feb. 19: 7:15 @ NYA

Feb. 23: 7:15 vs. Waseca

Feb. 25: 7:15 vs. Mayer Luth.

Mar. 2:  7:15 @ LS-H

Mar. 4:  7:15 vs. New Ulm

Mar. 6:  1:30 @ LS-H

Mar. 8:  7:15 @ SWC

Mar. 11: 7:15 @ NYA

Mar. 12: 7:15 vs. TCU

Box Scores

Belle Plaine 61,  

Le Sueur-Henderson 39

BP    33    28    61

LS-H    19    20    39

Belle Plaine scoring – M. Koepp 3, A. Koepp 2, Schmidt 4, L. Lenz 9, O’Brien 9, Ziemke 3, Johnson 18, S. Lenz 11, McGlinchey 2.

Rebounds - Belle Plaine 40 (Schmidt 11, L. Lenz 7, S. Lenz 6)

Assists –Belle Plaine 11 (Ziemke, Johnson 3)

Steals –Belle Plaine 13 (L. Lenz, O’Brien, Johnson, S. Lenz, McGlinchey 2).

Turnovers –Belle Plaine 4.

Mayer Lutheran 65,

Belle Plaine 57

ML    31    34    65

BP    29    28    62

Belle Plaine scoring – M. Koepp 4, Schmidt 9, L. Lenz 15, Ziemke 4, Johnson 11, S. Lenz 14

Assists –Belle Plaine 10 (Ziemke 4, M Koepp, S. Lenz 3)

Steals –Belle Plaine 7 (Schmidt, Johnson, S Lenz 2)

Turnovers –Belle Plaine 10.

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