New Life boys basketball: Eagles win four straight games, take lead in MCAA South division
The New Life Academy boys basketball team won two important region games last week, starting with an exciting 73-70 win over St. Croix Lutheran.
The Eagles, 13-3 overall and 6-1 in the Minnesota Christian Athletic Association conference, led most of the game but struggled down the stretch and found themselves down six points late.
However, New Life battled back and took the lead on a 3-pointer by senior Sam Nelson, then held on for the win.
Nelson finished with 10 points while Conrad Engstrom led all scorers with 23 points and senior Kyle Linton added 12 points.
The team turned around quickly and played the next night at home in front of a packed house in Woodbury against rival St. Croix Prep.
The first half was a clinic in team defense as the Eagles held the Lions to 14 points on their way to 37-14 halftime lead.
The Eagles were able to keep St. Croix Prep at harms length for the remainder of the game en route to a 60-41 win.
Engstrom again led the way with 16 points, while Kyle Linton and senior Mark Schreiner each added 10 points.
Prior to the wins, New Life split two conference games, but lead the MCAA South Division.
New Life traveled to Heritage Christian Academy on Tuesday, Jan. 21, and lost a tough battle 65-54.
The team struggled in the first half with the physical play of Heritage. However, NLA came out in the second half with improved effort and closed the gap to five points but could not hit the shots they needed to take the lead. The Eagles were led by Engstrom with 17 points, but no other player scored in double figures.
NLA had its game against West Lutheran cancelled due to weather on Thursday, but then traveled to Winsted on Friday, Jan. 24, to take on the Lester Prairie Bulldogs who were undefeated in conference play.
The teams battled to a 37-37 tie at halftime, but the Eagles came out on fire the second half, only to see a lead slip away before taking control again late in the game and running away with an 85-76 win.
Engstrom had a monster game with 34 points as the Bulldogs had no answer for him. Jake Wynia played an outstanding game inside with 20 points and seven rebounds. John Horner added 13 points.
The team returns to conference play with two home games this week against Trinity School and Lester Prairie before finishing the week next Saturday at home for Senior Day against Barnum.