GIRLS BASKETBALL: Lutheran Northwest stays in MIAC title chase by chopping down Inter-City Baptist

| February 10, 2016 | Comments (0)




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ROCHESTER HILLS — It has been far from a thing a beauty at Rochester Hills Lutheran Northwest this season, but the Crusaders are getting the right type of results on the hardcourt.

Host Lutheran Northwest continued one of its best starts in school history Tuesday despite some sloppy play that led to 26 turnovers and a 17-for-50 shooting night, outlasting pesky Allen Park Inter-City Baptist, 56-43, in MIAC Blue Division play.

The win kept the Crusaders in the hunt for at least a share of the league crown entering the final weeks of the regular season.

“I thought, deep down, that we would have a chance to win the win the league. If we win out, we’ll get at least a share of it,” admitted second-year Lutheran Northwest coach Jimmy Mehlberg. “I know my assistants believed it. I don’t think many of the girls believed it. But we are right there with (Grosse Pointe Woods University) Liggett, tied in first. I don’t think the rest of the league thought be’d be there.”

The Crusaders finished with just four wins two years ago, but turned the tables with a 15-7 ledger last winter. The comeback has hit some snags, yet the Crusaders are showing the league that they can compete.

“I think it’s just us coming to work hard every day. We have come a long ways,” said Mehlberg. “It hasn’t always been pretty. Tonight, we had far too many turnovers. But we found a way to win again. We win by working hard and (out-working) other teams.”

Senior center Molly Grulke scored 11 with 20 rebounds and four blocked shots — the latter two both game highs — and senior guard Laura Hohnstadt followed with 12 points and seven rebounds in leading the way for the Crusaders.

Senior guard Abbey Meissner added 10 points for for Northwest (13-2, 9-1), which out-rebounded the Chargers by a commanding 42-28 margin.

Northwest opened with a 12-1 run in the first quarter. Inter-City Baptist, which did not hit a single shot from the floor until there was 7:46 left in the second quarter, opened up the second frame with a 14-4 run to close to within 16-15 with 5:24 remaining in the stanza.

A 9-0 Northwest run pushed the lead up to 25-15 with 2:55 left in the first half and the Chargers (8-8, 5-4) never got closer than nine points the rest of the way.

The Crusaders led 32-21 at the break and 45-31 entering the fourth quarter.

ICB did chop down the deficit to 49-40 with 3:11 remaining in the contest, although the damage had already been done against the Chargers.

“Every time they made a run, we dug deep and found a way with our defense to force turnovers and go on a run of our own,” said Mehlberg. “I thought we did a great job rebounding the ball. The last 8-9 games, Molly Grulke has been unbelievable on the boards, She had (20) tonight and she’s been averaging around 15 a game. She broke our school record with 29 rebounds in a game earlier this season.”

Senior guard Karalynn Goering scored a game-high 20 points with five steals to pace Inter-City Baptist. Sophomore guard Jessiann Wiedman added 10 points and four assists, while senior guard McKenna Howell contributed nine points and nine rebounds for the Chargers.

ICB was held to 15-for-53 shooting on the night, including just 4-for-18 from beyond the three-point arc.

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