NEW ULM - After a competitive first half that saw the New Ulm girl's basketball team trail by only seven points to Big Nine Conference team Mankato West, things were looking good for the Eagles.
But the second half saw the Scarlets come out with a much more aggressive defense, holding New Ulm scoreless for the first seven minutes and forcing numerous turnovers. The result was a 72-47 victory for the Scarlets over the Eagles in a nonconference battle.
Despite the lopsided final score, New Ulm coach Dan Reinhart was impressed by his young team's composure, especially in the first half.
"In the first half, we were very composed, that might be the best offensive first half we've played," the first-year coach at New Ulm said. "Then Mankato West turned up the intensity and forced us into some turnovers."
New Ulm (1-7) committed 24 turnovers in the game, with a majority of them coming in the second half. Ellie Schneider led the Eagles with 14 points and Kelsey Anderson finished with nine points.
West (3-3) sophomore Lexi Schoper led all scorers with 34 points.
The Scarlets and the Eagles were close for most of the first half, with Nikki Dittrich's basket trimming the West lead to 15-11 with 9:15 left. Later, the Eagles went on a 6-0 run to tie the game at 22 after Schneider scored six straight points.
But Schoper answered with a pair of free throws and a short jumper, then later hit a 3-pointer to push West ahead 29-24.
While the game was close in the first half, the second half was a different story. West came out on a 10-0 run to open up the game. The Scarlets never looked back as they kept up the defensive intensity to push it out of reach.
"We're not a very physical team, so we just gotta be tougher with the basketball," Reinhart said. "When there's bumping and there's reaching, it tends to throw us off."
The Eagles get a bit of a break before resuming action at Waseca on Jan. 3.