NEW ULM - New Ulm Cathedral girls basketball coach Jeremy Drexler said his team is still learning how to win.
With finals just a few weeks away, the Greyhounds did a masterful job on their midterm exam Friday night against Cedar Mountain/Comfrey.
Although Cathedral lost a 11-point halftime lead, the Greyhounds kept their composure and held off a determined CM/C team 5955 in Tomahawk Conference play.
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
New Ulm Cathedral’s Val Lux takes a shot after getting past Cedar Mountain/Comfrey defenders Angela Gewerth (20), Nicole Kerkhoff and Heidi Clement (3) during the first half Friday at CHS in New Ulm.
For more photos of this event, go to cu.nujournal.com
"We willed one out, it was a good win and a good confidence booster for us," Drexler said. "We did a nice job of not folding tonight. We stayed with it and made shots when we had to at the end."
Cathedral built a big lead in the first half thanks to a strong offensive attack and equally poor shooting by the Cougars.
CM/C started the game on a 1-for-13 slump, meanwhile, the Greyhounds jumped out to a 14-4 lead. They built that lead to 21-6 on a Hayley Hornick free throw with 7:03 to play in the half.
The teams were even the rest of the way and Cathedral took a 33-18 lead at the break.
"They came out and hit a few and we got ourselves in a hole, " CM/C coach Mike Kelly said. "We just couldn't put the ball in the basket. We were lucky, they could have had a 25-point lead the way we were shooting."
The Cougars came out in the second half ready to play.
Nicole Kerkhoff, the leading scorer in the Tomahawk, scored the first six points of the half for CM/C and 12 of the Cougars first 18 as they cut Cathedral's lead to 41-36 with 9:38 to play.
"We got her the ball in the right spots and she was able to put the ball in the bucket," Kelly said. "We made a nice run in the second half and passed the ball a lot better."
A pair of free throws by Rachel Hoffbeck and Kerkhoff made it 41-40 with 9:19 to play.
Kristi Larson scored to extend Cathedral's lead, but a basket by Angela Gewerth and another Kerkhoff basket gave the Cougars their first lead of the night at 44-43. Alli Madsen's free throw gave CMC at two-point advantage.
Kari Berg hit the front end of a one-and-one, she missed the second but Marisa Waibel was there and put back the rebound to put the Greyhounds back up 46-45 and they never trailed again.
"We caught them not boxing out on a free throw and Marisa went after the ball," Drexler said. "She did a real nice job of finishing too."
But Cathedral did it's best to keep the Cougars in it as it went 9-for-17 from the free throw line down the stretch. The Greyhounds shot 14-for-28 from the line for the game.
But CM/C couldn't capitalize on the opportunities and Cathedral held on for the 59-55 win.
Kerkhoff finished the night with a game-high 27 points - 19 of which came in the second half. Heidi Clement had eight points for the Cougars. CM/C (7-8, 3-7) hosts Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop Tuesday.
"We do play better from behind," Kelly said. "Every game, almost, we get down by 12 or 14, battle back and get the lead. We seem to give it up right away because we have forgotten how we got that lead. Hopefully we can make that adjustment because we have a lot of tough games coming up."
For the Greyhounds, Hornick led the way with 20 point on four 3-pointers. Larson finished with 13 points and Val Lux scored 10.
Cathedral (9-6, 5-4) is at Wabasso Tuesday and at Sleepy Eye St. Mary's Thursday.
"We have nine games left and six in two weeks," Drexler said. "These are good learning experiences. We are learning how to handle pressure and I thought we did a good job of handling the ball, we just need to hit the free throws so we can extend the lead a little better."