The Minneapolis girls faced their biggest test of the season Tuesday night at Valley Heights, and the game proved why it was considered as such.
Valley Heights, the No. 3 team in 2A, used its size and experience advantages to win 64-43.
Senior Emma Yungeberg led the Mustangs with a game-high 27 points unofficially, and Cat Toerber, another senior, added 15.
For Minneapolis, Maci McClure and Raelyn Robinson, both freshmen, each had 10 points. Robinson was also named the Nex-Tech Wireless Player of the Game. Cameron Cleveland was awarded the H&R Block of the Game.
Valley Heights (8-0) jumped out to a 21-5 lead at the end of the first quarter, and many of its buckets were coming on second and third chances. The Mustangs heavily out-rebounded Minneapolis, especially in the first half.
Valley Heights piled on in the second quarter to take a 38-11 lead into halftime.
Minneapolis (6-3) improved offensively in the second half and battled back, but the deficit was too great by that point. Valley Heights kept finding ways to stamp out any possible Lion comeback.
Valley Heights has now won 19 regular season games in a row. Minneapolis has dropped back-to-back games for the first time all season.
In a gritty performance, Minneapolis was able to weather the storm of adversity in its 47-46 overtime victory on Tuesday.
The Lions had only seven players available and were still able to pull off a road victory. Kolten Hoppe and Colby Rice each had 14 points for Minneapolis. Rice was named the Nex-Tech Wireless Player of the Game for his efforts, especially in overtime, and Mason Scott had the H&R Block of the Game.
For Valley Heights, Caden Parker led with 17 points.
The game started out as if Minneapolis (2-7) was going to run away with it early. The Lions shot well in the first half and limited the Mustangs’ shots. As a result, Minneapolis led 26-9 at the half.
Valley Heights (1-7) fired back in the second half, though, and its offense started to wake up. The Mustangs tied the game with under a minute to go, and Minneapolis’s Ryker Nelson missed a potential game-winning layup to end regulation.
In overtime, Rice started the period with two buckets. Valley Heights then answered to make it a one-point game with time winding down.
After some missed Minneapolis free throws, the Mustangs had the ball down by one with seven seconds remaining. A costly miscommunication on a pass led to a turnover, however, allowing Minneapolis to regain possession and hold on for the victory.
The Lions snapped a four-game losing streak with the win.
Both Minneapolis teams are back in action on Friday at home against Beloit in league games. Pregame coverage starts at 5:45 on 92.7 The New Zoo and here on ksal.com.