TRIMONT - Mankato Loyola senior center Alyssa Mettler scored all nine of the Crusader's first nine points on the way to a double-double performance to lead Mankato Loyola to a 55-49 Valley Conference victory over Martin County West on Friday in Trimont.
Mettler scored 15 of her game-high 23 points in the opening half, along with 10 rebounds as the Crusaders took a two-point lead at halftime.
The Crusaders did not relinquish their lead in the second half and extended it to 50-42, the largest of the game, with 4:45 left to play.
ACCESS DENIED — Mankato Loyola’s Annie Nawrocki blocks a shot by Martin County West’s Reilly Geistfeld (back left) during Valley Conference basketball action Friday night in Trimont. The Crusaders’ Mary Pfau (33) and Jordyn Strachan (10) look on. Photo by Leanna Becker
Kate Thiesse cut the deficit in half, scoring a basket and drawing a foul before putting back her own rebound to make it 50-46 with 3:40 left.
Madyson Larson and Whitney Smith each made free throws with 3:30 left to play to make it 50-48.
"We were able to stay in the game and we had opportunities even at the end to win, but couldn't get the bounces to go our way tonight," said Martin County West head coach Rodger Taylor.
Thiesse picked Lindsey Theuninck's pocket and had an opportunity to tie the game with 1:36 remaining, but the Crusader defense turned the missed shot into a lead-extending basket.
Lindsey Theuninck stole up the court after taking the outlet pass and skipped a pass to Mettler for the easy lay in to make it 52-48 with one minute remaining.
The Crusaders sank 3 of 7 free throws in the final minutes to hang onto their lead, while the Mavericks made 15 of 29 from the free throw line in the game, sinking 6 of 9 in the final minutes.
"We weren't able to get that many transition baskets tonight," said Taylor. "That is something we usually are able to do, but they outrebounded us tonight."
Reilly Geistfeld came off the bench and lit an offensive fire for the Mavericks in the first half, scoring all 11 of her points off the bench.
Thiesse, who scored 7 of her 11 points of the game in the first half, gave the Mavericks their largest lead with an easy lay up off a Crusader turnover, making it 14-9.
The Crusaders' Elizabeth Ninneman scored five points, including a three from the top of the key to cut MCW's lead down to 25-22 with just over four minutes remaining in the opening frame.
Aunikah Bastian scored eight of her 12 game points in the second half to add to the Crusader's offensive attack.
Taryn Tumbleson scored nine points for the Mavericks, while Morgan Williamson tallied seven.
In addition to Thiesse's scoring, she also pulled down six rebounds for the Mavericks.
Martin County West 8-2, 6-1 Valley Conference) travels to Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial for a 7:30 p.m. conference game on Monday.
Mankato Loyola (10-1, 5-1 Valley) hosts Maple River in a 7:30 p.m. conference game on Monday.
Fairmont 57, New Ulm 25 - Junior post player Kayla Lardy neared rare 20-20 territory in powering the Cardinals to a 32-point victory over the Eagles during South Central Conference action Friday night in New Ulm.
The 6-foot-1 Lardy produced a game-best double-double performance of 18 points and 19 rebounds to complement six blocked shots to top Fairmont's winning performance.
Kristen Campe netted 12 points for the Cardinals, while Madison Geerdes and Sierra Schultz each supplied seven points.
Geerdes also hauled in six boards, Tracy Thiesse chipped in 13 rebounds and four points, while teammate Alex Christianson garnered a dozen boards to go with two points.
The Cardinals hit 21 of 58 shots from 2-point range, 2 of 10 from behind the 3-point arc and only 9 of 25 from the free throw line.
Fairmont (2-8, 1-2 SCC) travels to Waseca on Thursday night.
New Ulm 13-12-25
New Ulm edged Fairmont, 37-33, during B-squad action Friday night in New Ulm.
Cassidy Krusemark generated 16 points and seven rebounds to pace the Cardinals, Courtney Mosloski scored eight points, while Sophie Shelgren pocketed seven steals.
Blue Earth Area 51, St. James 35 - Krista Hassing collected a game-high double-double of 28 points and 14 rebounds to engineer the Bucs' 51-35 South Central Conference triumph over the Saints on Friday night in St. James.
Whitney Pirsig contributed nine points and six boards to BEA's winning ways, while teammate Jenna Stevermer netted five points and four rebounds.
Hassing's double-figure boardwork paced the Bucs' 44-18 rebounding edge.
Julia Beckius scored 12 points to top St. James.
Blue Earth Area (6-3, 2-1 SCC) travels to Jackson County Central on Tuesday night.
B.E. Area 30-21-51
St. James 23-12-35
North Union 61, Corwith-Wesley-Luverne 31 - Cheyanne Boland generated a game-best 15 points and pocketed three steals to propel the Warriors to a 30-point Corn Belt Conference victory over the Panthers on Friday night in Corwith, Iowa.
Dena Looft neared double-double territory for North Union by scoring eight points and garnering nine rebounds to go with three steals.
Madison Bollig supplied eight points for the Warriors, Jasmine Clausen netted seven points and three assists, while Sarah Rolling pulled down nine rebounds.
The Warriors made 21 of 38 shots from 2-point distance and 4 of 17 from behind the 3-point arc.
North Union (8-3, 5-1 CBC) travels to Storm Lake, Iowa, on Monday night.
N. Union 28-33-61
Alden-Conger 62, Truman 43 - Brittany Waters netted a game-best 15 points to pace the Knights to a 19-point Valley Conference victory over the Bluejays on Friday night in Truman.
Katrina Skov contributed 12 points for Alden-Conger, which made only 8 of 30 free throws.
Emily Zaharia generated 13 points, six rebounds and five steals to top Truman, while teammate Brooke McDonald netted 11 points and six rebounds.
Cleo Maloney scored seven points, while Briannia Pearson added six points for the Bluejays, who made 9 of 22 charity tosses.
Truman (0-11, 0-6 Valley) travels to Madelia on Monday night.
Nicollet 61, Granada-Huntley-East Chain 42 - Emily Skrien produced a game-best 18 points to fuel the Raiders' 19-point Valley Conference victory over the Mustangs on Friday night in Nicollet.
Rachel Shumski netted 16 points and six rebounds to pace GHEC's effort, while Tia Grathwohl scored nine points. Amanda Cegelske chipped in eight points, five rebounds and three assists.
Granada-Huntley-East Chain (4-5, 3-3 Valley) plays host to Martin Luther on Monday night in East Chain.