MINSTER — Mississinawa Valley played well most of the night on Saturday but had a couple cold stretches while Minster stayed hot in a 66-51 Wildcat win.
Despite the loss, Mississinawa Valley boys basketball coach Rodney Saintignon was pleased by the Blackhawks’ play and intensity, even more pleased than Friday night when they beat National Trail 48-44.
“We played hard,” Saintignon said. “We struggled a little bit last night, we didn’t play with the intensity that we had tonight, but tonight we fought hard, and I’m real proud of them.”
Mississinawa had a couple cold stretches, including one to start the game, which forced the Blackhawks to play from behind all night. Minster went on a 10-0 run in the first three minutes of the game in MV’s first cold stretch.
“We just didn’t shoot the greatest outside, I think, and that hurt us,” Saintignon said. “And you know those guys shot well. Minster shot well outside, and that hurt us. Their threes that they hit hurt us pretty bad.”
Facing a double-digit deficit early on, Mississinawa Valley got back in the game as senior Dane Blumenstock scored 12 first-quarter points.
“Dane’s been playing excellent,” Saintignon said. “It’s his third game in a row with 20-plus points. And he’s just a great leader and a great basketball player.”
Behind Blumenstock’s leadership, Mississinawa Valley cut the deficit to 19-14 by the end of the first quarter. Minster had seven players score in the first quarter as the Wildcats used balanced scoring to stay in the lead.
Mississinawa stayed right with Minster in the second quarter as Devan Rinderle, Cayden Cox and Dalton Rinderle joined Blumenstock in putting points on the board. At halftime, MV trailed 33-25.
With scoring from Cox and Blumenstock, the Blackhawks started the second half well and were within five points at 37-32.
But in the late minutes of the third period, Mississinawa Valley went cold again and was outscored 15-2 to fall behind 52-34 entering the fourth quarter.
“Couple bad stretches of us missing the ball, them rebounding,” Saintignon said. “I think Minster rebounded excellent. We missed some easy bunnies underneath, and they made shots when we were missing them. We need to work on our shooting a little more.”
Down 18 points with just eight minutes to play was too much for the Hawks to overcome. Even though MV outscored Minster 17-14 in the fourth quarter, it lost 66-51 in the non-conference game.
Blumenstock led all players with 26 points on the night. Also for Mississinawa Valley, Devan Rinderle scored eight points, Jacob Breymier scored seven, Cox scored four, Dalton Rinderle scored four, and Zach Armstrong scored two.
“I think everybody on this team plays with a lot of heart, and I’m proud of everyone of them,” Saintignon said. I’m talking all 12 of them and I appreciate what they do.”
Brandon Hoying led Minster with 15 points in the game. Also for the Wildcats, Drew Ripploh scored 13 points, Josh Nixon scored nine, Prater Otting scored seven, Jacob Stechschulte scored seven, Eli Wolf scored seven, Matthew Trushaw scored five, and A.J. Huelsman scored three.
Mississinawa Valley fell to 7-8 with the loss while Minster improved to 5-9. The Blackhawks will return to action on Friday at Miami East.