By Jake Calhoun
Journal Sports Writer
NEW ULM - A two-point deficit at halftime against St. Croix Lutheran seemed reasonable for the Minnesota Valley Lutheran boy's basketball team at the time.
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
Minnesota Valley Lutheran’s Chad Lease (12) drives to the basket against Aage Rovney of St. Croix Lutheran during the first half Saturday at the Martin Luther College Tipoff Tournament.
For more photos of this event go to cu.nujournal.com
After gaining a 47-46 lead thanks to a 3-pointer by Jacob Hoffman, however, St. Croix went on a 13-5 tear that facilitated a 74-59 win against MVL in the championship game of the MLC Tipoff Tournament on Saturday night.
"St. Croix is a good team, they've got a lot of talent and our kids just had to scrap for everything they get," said MVL coach Craig Morgan. "We needed to rebound - and that's what we did - but they're just a little bit better than we are."
St. Croix sophomore post Trenton Krueger led the late scoring tear with six of his team-high 26 points. Morgan said his game plan included containing Krueger, but that fed into point guard Agie Rovney's distribution of the ball.
Krueger also had a game-high 16 rebounds.
"He's good - he finishes real well, is strong with the ball," said MVL senior Chad Lease of Krueger. "That's just what we've got to work on is boxing out; we can't give them second opportunities."
Krueger was also effective in stifling Nick Dewanz, holding him to five points and eight rebounds.
"Our focus the second half was to get the ball down to Nick so we could run some offense through him and they did some things down there that got Nick away from the basket," Morgan said. "We didn't get Nick going to the basket, we needed him to go to the basket a little bit more."
For the Chargers (3-3, 2-1 Tomahawk), Lease led all scorers with 32 points - 17 of which came in the first half - while shooting 50 percent (11-of-22) from the floor.
Josh Koelpin added 11 points with all three of his field goals coming from 3-point land. Two of Hoffman's three field goals were 3-pointers as well.
MVL hosts Sleepy Eye at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday.
"There's always room for improvement," Lease said. "No matter whether you're NBA, college, whatever, there's always room for improvement."
MVL 26 33 - 59
SCL 28 46 - 74
MVL: Chad Lease (32 pts, 11-22, 7-9 FT), Josh Koelpin (11 pts, 3-9, 2-4 FT), Jacob Hoffman (8 pts, 3-8).
SCL: Trenton Krueger (26 pts, 13-17, 0-5 FT), Agie Rovney (17 pts, 7-18, 2-4 FT), David Ponath (10 pts, 4-8, 2-3 FT).