Chargers open with a win

NEW ULM – Up by just three points at halftime to the Mountain Lake Area Wolverines, the Minnesota Valley Lutheran Chargers girls basketball team turned on the Munsen burner.

MVL worked the ball inside to Anna Munsen, who responded by scoring the first eight points of the second half, turning a 33-30 Chargers lead into an eventual 67-41 rout of the Wolverines in the season opener.

“At halftime, we just sat down and said, ‘all right, what can we do to improve’ and we did those things,” MVL coach Dave Biedenbender said. “We made a point of emphasis that we didn’t work hard enough to get the ball inside. Then, our defense improved, which fed the offense.”

The first half was plenty offensive, with opening night jitters no doubt contributing to the 30 turnovers and 34 free throws split almost evenly between the two teams.

MVL opened a 4-0 lead, but five straight by the Wolverines’ Brianna Soutthivong gave MLA a 5-4 advantage. Despite 10 turnovers in the first nine minutes by the Wolverines, the Chargers were only able to score six points off them. In the meantime, MLA stayed in the game by hitting eight of its first 10 free throws resulting in a 21-21 tie.

The Wolverines then got a 3-pointer from Whitney Klassen and a pair of free throws from Stacey Harder to take a 26-21 lead. Charlotte Pfingsten responded for the Chargers with four freebies in a row, with a layup by Johanna Kettner giving MVL the lead back at 27-26 with halftime showing the tenuous 33-30 Chargers margin.

The MVL team that came out of the break looked more like the MVL team its fans are used to seeing. Adding to Munsen’s eight straight, Mariah Stein tossed in a 3-pointer and some stingy defense that made it 48-30 with MLA not scoring until seven minutes had passed.

The coveted 20-point lead came for MVL on a three by Pfingsten, followed by the last of Munsen’s 23 points making it 59-36. After this, it was substitute time until the final buzzer and the 67-41 Chargers victory.

Following Munsen in the MVL scoring parade were Kettner with 16 and Pfingsten adding 11.

Soutthivong was the only player in double figures for the Wolverines with 10.

MVL hosts Buffalo Lake-Hector-Stewart at 7:30 p.m. Friday night.

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