NORTHROP - Madelia guard Carina Aguilar drove the baseline, drew a foul and converted a traditional 3-point play to whittle Martin Luther's lead to 22-18 with 3:34 remaining in the first half of Tuesday night's basketball game.
Unfortunately for the visiting Blackhawks, the Knights closed out the opening segment on a 15-0 run to head into the lockerroom with a 19-point lead in hand.
Martin Luther duplicated that performance to open the second half of the Valley Conference clash in Northrop en route to an eventual 54-30 victory over Madelia.
TIPPED AWAY — Martin Luther guard Kayley Shoen (right) tips the basketball away from Madelia’s Melody Colon for a steal during Valley Conference action Tuesday night in Northrop. Photo by Leanna Becker
Aguilar, who scored 12 of her game-high 14 points during the first 18 minutes, finally ended the Blackhawks' 14-minute scoring drought by hitting a runner in the lane with 7:24 remaining in the second half.
Catie Sherman triggered the Knights' incredible 30-0 offensive avalanche that bridged intermission by drilling her second 3-pointer of the game.
Effie Bentz then capitalized on back-to-back steals by teammate Kayley Shoen by tossing home a pair of runners in traffic to re-establish the home team's double-figure lead at 29-18 with 2:12 left before halftime.
Shoen, who neared double-double territory by delivering 12 points and a team-best nine rebounds off the bench, then sank two free throws before teammate Hunter Payne tossed in two of her team-high 13 points off a high-post delivery from Samantha Meade.
Shoen pocketed the third of her game-leading five thefts to create a breakaway lay-in by a hustling Bentz before Payne threaded the needle on a bounce pass to Shoen for a layup with only 8 seconds to go in the opening half.
Bentz netted a solo free throw to open the second half, Sherman swooshed a left-wing 15-footer, Payne converted one of her four steals into a layup and Meade hit a putback basket for two of her 10 points to widen the Knights' margin to 44-18.
Sherman then turned playmaker by delivering assists to Shoen in the right corner and Meade along the left baseline for back-to-back buckets.
Shoen knocked down another 15-footer from the right wing before Payne drove the distance after a midcourt steal for a layup to create a 52-18 lead.
Morgan Rigney scored six of her eight points off of the Madelia bench to help highlight the visitors' 10-2 scoring run during the final 7:24 of regulation.
Danielle Arndt garnered a game-leading 15 rebounds for the Blackhawks, while Bentz and Sherman produced nine and eight points, respectively, for the Knights.
Martin Luther (10-6, 7-3 Valley) travels to Mankato Loyola on Friday night, while Madelia (2-14, 0-10) plays host to Martin County West on Friday night.
Martin County West 62, St. James 61 - Kate Thiesse delivered a game-best double-double performance of 21 points and 12 rebounds to help the Mavericks edge the Saints, 62-61, during nonconference action Tuesday night in Trimont.
Thiesse also pocketed three steals, teammate Reilly Geistfeld supplied 14 points, while Morgan Williamson distributed three assists.
Martin County West connected on 26 of 68 field goals and 10 of 16 free throws on the night.
Julia Beckius scored 20 points to pace St. James, teammate Emily Hurley netted 16 points, while Allison Brandts chipped in 13 points.
Martin County West (14-2, 9-1 Valley) plays host to Windom Area on Thursday night in Trimont.
St. James 26-35-61
Granada-Huntley-East Chain 63, Truman 39 - Amanda Cegelske collected 14 points, seven rebounds, seven steals, four assists and four blocked shots to help power the Mustangs to a 63-39 Valley Conference victory over the Bluejays on Tuesday night in Truman.
Rachel Shumski supplied 14 points, seven assists, five steals and four boards to GHEC's winning ways, while teammate Anna Balcom chipped in 14 points and five rebounds.
The Mustangs made 26 of 57 field goals, but only 9 of 25 free throws on the game.
Cleo Maloney produced a game-high 26 points to complement four steals to top Truman.
Brooke McDonald tallied 10 points for the Bluejays, while Briannia Pearson contributed eight points and six rebounds.
The Bluejays made 13 of 21 free throws on the night.
Truman (1-16, 1-9 Valley) plays host to Sleepy Eye Public on Thursday night, while Granada-Huntley-East Chain (8-6, 6-4) plays host to St. Clair on Friday night at East Chain School.
Blue Earth Area 41, United South Central 25 - Krista Hassing produced a game-best double-double effort of 14 points and 12 rebounds to fuel the Bucs' 41-25 non-league triumph over the Rebels on Tuesday night in Blue Earth.
Hassing also distributed three assists, while teammate Whitney Pirsig chipped in six points.
The Bucs made 15 of 41 shots from 2-point range, 2 of 4 behind the bonus arc and 5 of 10 at the free throw line.
Blue Earth Area (9-5, 3-3 South Central) plays host to Waseca on Thursday night.
North Union 39, Clay Central-Everly 26 - Sarah Rolling and Cheyanne Boland each scored 10 points to lead the Warriors to a 39-26 Corn Belt Conference victory over the Mavericks on Tuesday night in Armstrong.
Aurora Oliver scored seven points to go along with seven rebounds and three assists to add to the Warriors' balanced attack.
Dena Looft grabbed a team-high nine boards and made four steals, while Rolling added four steals for North Union.
The Warriors made 3 of 4 from behind the 3-point line, sank 11 of 34 from 2-point range and hit 8 of 17 from the charity stripe.
Emily Jobst led the Mavericks with 10 points.
North Union (11-5, 6-1 Corn Belt) travels to Harris-Lake Park for a 6 p.m. game on Friday.