NEW ULM - With Tuesday's girls' basketball game between New Ulm and Le Sueur-Henderson all tied up entering the final two minutes, a misstep by either team was bound to prove the difference in the game.
The difference was provided when the Eagles committed four fouls down the stretch, which helped the Giants end the game on a 7-0 run to earn a 45-38 non-conference victory - their first win of the season.
"We fouled too much and they made their free throws," New Ulm head coach Matthew Dick said. "That's pretty much it."
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
New Ulm’s Ellie Schneider takes a shot during the second half of the Eagles’ loss to Le Sueur-Henderson Tuesday at NUHS.
Each of LSH's final seven points were scored from the free throw line, with five of the seven points coming in the game's final 30 seconds. The Giants scored 14 of their 28 points in the second half via free throws.
Before the game's final stretch, the Eagles didn't trail by more than two points at any point in the contest. However, New Ulm struggled to get the ball to the low post on offense with the Giants stacking their defense inside the 3-point line.
"We struggled making adjustments," Dick said. "We talked about some things at halftime, I think we got that done once in the second half offensively, and that hurts us when we can't make those adjustments and execute them."
Ellie Schneider helped New Ulm get off to a strong start with eight points during her team's opening 11-8 run. Hunter Ahlness made a long 2-pointer and Taylor Bolduan added a basket to give the Eagles a 15-8 lead - the biggest lead by either team until the game's final score.
The Giants responded with a 9-0 run, but Schneider earned a steal and made a breakaway left-handed layup to tie the score at 17-17, which is where is stayed entering halftime.
Each team's defense took control early in the second half, with a 3-pointer by Ahlness giving New Ulm a 27-24 lead with eight minutes left in the game - the first time the two teams were more than two points apart in the half.
Bolduan converted a three-point play to give New Ulm a 32-28 lead and Nicole Dittrich made a crowd-pleasing 3 to give the Eagles a 36-34 lead with just less than four minutes remaining, but that turned out to be the last lead for the home side.
After LSH took a 38-36 lead, Schneider scored with two minutes left on the clock to tie the game at 38-38 and set the stage for the game's finish.
The Eagles put the Giants in the bonus with 7:54 left in the game and ended up with 15 fouls in the second half.
Carlie Brandt led LSH with 12 points, anchoring her team's efforts down the stretch by making eight free throws in the second half. Teammate LeaRae Enerson added 11 points.
Schneider was New Ulm's top scorer with 17 points. The team's scoring was rounded out by Ahlness (seven points), Dittrich (six points), Bolduan (five points) and Briana Sieve (three points).
The Eagles (0-17) will play at Fairmont on Friday before returning home to face Waseca at 7:30 p.m. Monday, during which the team will be holding a Shoot for the Cure fundraiser.