Getting beat off the boards and self-inflicted with 25 turnovers, the Cleveland girls basketball team lost 61-45 to Mankato Loyola/Nicollet at the Fitzgerald gym on Tuesday.
“I told them it was really good to see another team rebound the way the Crusaders did,” said Cleveland head coach Joe Remiger. “A lot of it is they just have to want it more. Sarena (Remiger) and Emmie (Dittmar) had some good boards, but Emmie got into some foul trouble early. I think it’s good for them to be a little (angry) and that the rest of the girls have to realize they need to work harder if they want to get the basketball.”
Macey Ziebarth muscled her way inside for the game’s first basket, but the Crusaders answered it with a three. Kern made a steal and cost-to-cost drive to put the Clippers up by a point, but the Crusaders regained the lead and held it until Kern grabbed a rebound and scored to knot the game at 14.
Ziebarth made two free throws, and Mya Krenik hit one before Kern took a handoff from Kaylee Karles for a basket that put the Clippers up 19-18. Ziebarth followed up by driving the floor for a layup that added two more points.
But the Clippers didn’t know what to do with the lead and coughed up the ball the rest of the half to go into the locker room down 34-24.
“We were giving that block up too much,” Remiger said. “Down low, they were letting (two Crusader players) just sit down there.”
The start of the second half was turnover city for the Clippers as well until they finally scored four minutes in on a Ziebarth free shot.
Battling midway into the half, Dittmar scored couple inside baskets to pull the Clippers within four, 43-39, but the Crusaders arched a pair of threes to widen their margin. The Clippers never rolled over though. Dittmar fought for two more baskets, and Remiger scored on a jumper, but the Crusaders held on for the victory.
Kern led the effort with 17 points and a dozen rebounds. Dittmar had 10 points, one more than Ziebarth. Remiger added seven. Usual starter Kallie Phillips was sidelined with an injury.
Remiger said illness swept through the ranks during the, causing missed practices since their last game.
“It is what it is. We’ll play with what we have. I’m proud of them for what they did.”
The girls host Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial on Tuesday at 5:45 pm.