By Jake Calhoun
Journal Sports Writer
NEW ULM - A sloppy affair paid dividends for one team on the schneid in the Tomahawk Conference on Monday night.
Minnesota Valley Lutheran broke a three-game losing streak by making shots when it needed to to defeat Sleepy Eye St. Mary's 46-33 in girl's basketball.
"Tonight, we had in our mindset that we needed to play with a lot of energy and a lot of intensity," said MVL coach David Biedenbender. "I think we did that better than we have the past three games."
The Knights (7-11, 4-8 Tomahawk) were held to 17.7-percent shooting (11-of-62) thanks to the staunch defense by the Chargers mixed with some iffy decisions on the offensive end. The Knights scored just 10 points off 4-of-27 shooting in the first half.
"The first half, I thought we made a number of poor decisions," said St. Mary's coach Bruce Woitas. "We didn't really get a good look, we just threw something up."
In giving up 33 points to St. Mary's, MVL (11-6, 7-4) surrendered its lowest point total in a Tomahawk Conference game this season and its second-lowest all season.
"Holding them to 33 points, that's one of our best efforts of the year," Biedenbender said. "We've been giving up 60 points the last couple games."
MVL jumped out to an 11-0 lead almost 9 minutes into the first half, which was when Becca Schmitz made a basket for St. Mary's first field goal of the night.
The Chargers continued their dominance, however, taking a 22-10 lead into halftime despite shooting 1-of-12 from 3-point range.
Woitas said his team's decision-making on the offensive end improved in the second half.
Foul trouble struck MVL in the second half, accumulating 10 team fouls by the 8:26 mark. St. Mary's managed to crawl back to within five at 35-30 after a 5-for-6 combined free-throw by Schmitz and senior Jamie Marti.
Rebekka Olsen hit a 3-pointer shortly afterward to give MVL some breathing room at 38-30, which was followed by a successful one-and-one free-throw trip to give her five points off the bench.
Nicole Moldstad scored four of her eight points in the final minutes of the game, first from a fastbreak layup and then in a trip to the free-throw line.
MVL junior Anna Munsen led all scorers with 19 points, while Schmitz finished with a team-high 10 for the Knights.
Despite dropping its second-straight game, Woitas said he is happy with where his team is defensively. But defense is not what troubles him.
"We were playing well offensively, we've just got to get back to where we're more consistent on the offensive side," Woitas said. "Overall, we're one of those teams that has been a little inconsistent, but we fight hard and we've been in most games. We've just got to score more points."
With the win, MVL remains in second place in the Tomahawk Conference. On Friday it will host first-place Wabasso, which clinched at least a share of the conference title with its 60-40 win against Buffalo Lake-Hector-Stewart on Monday.
"We're looking forward to see how we measure up to Wabasso and see if we can play a good game against them," Biedenbender said. "At this time of year when you're working toward the playoffs, you want to play tough teams and we're going to see that on Friday. We'll see if we can match their toughness."
S.E. St. Mary's 10 23 - 33
MVL 22 24 - 46
S.E. ST. MARY'S (33)
Marti 0-5 3-6 3, Schmitz 4-13 2-2 10, Carr 3-8 0-0 7, Helget 2-18 1-3 5, Brinkman 1-5 2-2 4, Portner 1-7 1-5 3, Rosenhammer 0-1 1-2 1, Salfer 0-1 0-0 0, L Pelzel 0-1 0-0 0, Anderson 0-3 0-2 0, Schwartz 0-0 0-0 0, K Pelzel 0-0 0-0 0.
Stein 2-9 0-0 4, Moldstad 2-8 4-4 8, Alfred 2-5 2-2 6, Pfingsten 1-11 0-1 3, Munsen 7-12 4-5 19, Kettner 0-2 1-3 1, Diersen 0-1 0-0 0, Olsen 1-4 2-2 5.