The Mayer Lutheran boys basketball seemingly could not miss in the first half of their Dec. 21 matchup with Concordia Academy, pouring in 52 points to take a 20-point lead into the break. Yet the Crusaders found themselves in a battle in the second half, needing a late bucket to win the game 69-66.

“In the first half, offensively we were hot, then in the second half we were down, but did what we had to at the end to win,” said Ty Hoese. “Offensively we went cold in the second half, but they’re a good team and we got the win, so that’s all that matters.”

There seemed to be a lid on the rim for the Crusaders over the final 18 minutes, as the offense that put up 52 points in the opening stanza managed just 17 points. While the Beacons made their run to tie the game, Mayer Lutheran stayed calm enough to weather the storm and pull out a win.

“[We were] trying to stay calm, get back to what we do in practice, go through running our offense, everything we do every day, just get back to basics,” said Hoese.

And with the game on the line, the Crusaders opted for the best shot, not the easiest shot, moving the ball around before finding Hoese inside all alone, converting an and-one after the defense raced to recover from the ball movement.

“Isaac dished it out to Tyler and he was kind of open on the three point line, I just kind of slid behind him because they all looked at him because they thought he was going to look for the open three,” Hoese said. “He just found me backdoor - it was a great pass.”

With a slim lead, the Crusaders fought for two crucial rebounds, one on offense and one on defense to earn the win, coming out of a few scrums with the ball much like they did during the football season.

“There’s definitely still a piece of that for sure,” said Hoese.

The Crusaders got a balanced scoring effort – Connor Olsen (12), Elijah Jopp (9), Isaac Hahn (9), Abram Jopp (8), Hoese (8), Cole Neitzel (7), Tyler Neitzel (5), Dylan Nelson (4), Marcus Johnson (4) and Josiah Clark (3).

The win is Mayer Lutheran’s second in a row after an 0-3 start to the year, with the Crusaders starting the season a lot later than other teams thanks to their championship run on the football field.

“We’ve had a lot less practices to start the year, which is different, but we’re coming around, we’re getting there and we’re starting to play well,” said Hoese. “We obviously had a rough start, but we’re playing a lot better.”

Load comments