NEW ULM - The Minnesota Valley Lutheran boy's basketball team held off a pesky West Lutheran team with a 65-59 win to advance to the Martin Luther College Tipoff Tournament championship game.
The first half was a back-and-forth battle between the two teams. Seniors Nick Dewanz and Chad Lease paced the Charger offense with 14 and 12 points in the first half.
"At times we didn't control our tempo very well in the first half, but we settled down and got a good groove on," Dewanz said.
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
Minnesota Valley Lutheran’s Nick Dewanz (40) looks to shoot over West Lutheran defender Will Steffel during the Martin Luther College Tipoff Tournament on Friday at MLC.
For more photos of this event go to cu.nujournal.com
Each team led by as many as six points in the first half, but neither was ever able to pull away. West found itself leading by a two-point margin going into the second half.
MVL came out in the second half with more of a defensive mindset, which paid off. After nine minutes of play, West had been able to score just four points against a stingy MVL defense.
"Coach told us to just play good, hard-nosed defense and hit the boards hard, and that is what we did," Dewanz said.
The Chargers' offense was not able to pull away, however, and West was able to pull within four points with 3 1/2 left in the game.
West did everything it could to even the score with the Chargers, but MVL was able to knock down the majority of its free throws to hold on for the win.
MVL (3-2, 2-1 Tomahawk) plays for the championship at 6:45 p.m. Saturday against St. Croix.