Possible revenge games often draw interest, and this week the top two teams in the Minnesota River Conference meet in a rematch that has the makings of one.
Mayer Lutheran (10-1), which begins the week unblemished in the conference standings, defeated Belle Plaine 65-57 at home on Feb. 2, handing the Tigers (8-2) their only league loss in the past two seasons. Morgan Chmielewski (21 points), Emma Lade (16 points) and Madeline Guetzkow (16 points) led the way for the No. 6-1A Crusaders, while Leah Lenz and defending conference player of the year Sarah Lenz combined for 29 points for the Tigers.
Belle Plaine finished unbeaten in league play last winter — the first conference title in 17 years for the program — and returned four starters. Mayer Lutheran returned its top two scorers and rebounders, but graduated all-state honorable mention guard Lexi Schermann.
The early February meeting between these teams was a game of runs, with Mayer Lutheran opening up a first-half lead of nine points and a second-half lead of 17 points before Belle Plaine closed the gap each time. But the Crusaders stymied each rally behind strong and physical defensive play, which held the Tigers to just 38% shooting (including 5-of-19 on three-pointers).