New Life Academy dropped three-straight games last week but could close out the season strong with a win over St. Paul Academy Feb. 20. The Eagles lost three close contests, including one to the No. 2 ranked Class A squad Maranatha Christian Academy in an 80-75 loss Feb. 12. Conrad Engstrom scored a team-high 25 points and Luke Berger added 15 as New Life hung with Class A powerhouse. Sam Horner had 11 points for the Eagles, as did Bard Goulet. New Life had a 35-34 edge at halftime, but the Mustangs rallied at home in the second half with 46 points.
New Life will look to regain momentum in this week's Minnesota Christian Athletic Association girls basketball tournament. The Eagles dropped two-straight mid-February games at Southwest Christian and Columbia Heights after winning back-to-back games to start the month. New Life fell at Southwest 60-50 Feb. 10 and fell to 6-4 MCAA play. New Life then lost 53-47 Feb. 13 in nonconference play at Columbia Heights despite 24 points from Valerie Hohol.
Layups did New Life in the first time they met Lester Prairie-Holy Trinity. It cost the Eagles a 59-57 loss at the Bulldogs' home court Jan. 6. New Life did not let it happen a second time around as it beat the Bulldogs 60-50 Feb. 5. Defensively, the Eagles held LPHT to 18 second-half points after trailing 32-28 at the half. “We defended drive much better than we did than we played them in January,” Eagles coach Amanda Jensen said. “We limited their layups.” Valerie Hohol led New Life with 19 points and 10 rebounds for a double double in the home win.
With 26 points allowed for the game, New Life put forth one its best defensive performances of the season in a 69-26 rout at Bethany Academy Feb. 3. “It was a great team effort as the guys came out and played tough defense to get us an early lead, and they never let up,” Eagles coach Doug Linton said. “We were able to get everyone minutes which is always a good thing. Great focus on both ends of the floor.” New Life raced out to a 43-18 halftime lead and allowed just eight second-half points with many bench players stepping in for the Eagles while leading comfortably.
Considering Woodbury's girls hockey team was shutout over a three game stretch in mid-January, finding the net in three of its last four regular season games provides some hope. The Royals scored a goal in each of their losses against White Bear Lake, Mounds View and Forest Lake between Jan. 24-31. Moreover, all three of those schools finished in the top half of the Suburban East Conference. Woodbury had goals from Kayla Falconer and Livia Twohig in that span. Twohig and Falconer scored nine and eight goals during the regular season, respectively.
With a couple of big games by Sydney Steele, New Life Academy has itslongest winning streak of the season. “Sydney Steele did a fantastic job attacking the basket,” Eagles girls basketball coach Amanda Jensen said. Steele scored a game-high 27 points as the Eagles beat Heritage Christian Academy 53-37 Jan. 20. Valerie Hohol added 19 points for New Life. Only one Heritage Christian player scored in double figures. “We played great defense and did a great job attacking the basket,” Jensen said.
Conrad Engstrom scored a game-high 31 points as New Life Academy won its 10th game of the season Jan. 20. New Life pulled away from Heritage Christian Academy to win 67-51. The Eagles had a seven-point halftime lead and stretched the lead to double figures in the second half. Luke Berger and Simon Killeen each chipped in eights points for New Life and Eby Ketema scored seven. Adam Busch added five to the winning cause. New Life couldn't stretch its winning streak to three games though in 58-56 overtime loss at PAC Charter Jan. 23.
New Life put a tough loss to Marantha Christian Academy behind itself en route to a convincing victory at West Lutheran last week. The Eagles shut down West Lutheran in a 60-38 victory Jan. 15. The Warriors mustered only 16 second-half points as NLA pulled away from a 27-22 game in the final half. “In our conference, you're doing a pretty good job if you can do that to someone,” Eagles coach Doug Linton said about allowing 38 points. Conrad Engstrom led the Eagles with 19 points and five rebounds.
New Life Academy contained Mounds Park Academy early and rolled to a 51-32 victory at home Jan. 16. The Eagles allowed 11 first-half points by the Panthers, and only one Mounds Park player hit double figures in the scoring column. New Life held a nine-point lead by halftime and pulled away in the second half with 31 points. Valerie Hohol led the Eagles with 14 points, while Sydney Steele scored 12. Maddi Maas added 11 points and Hannah Nelson chipped in six. The Eagles moved within two games of the .500 mark at 5-7 overall and they improved to 4-2 at home.
After losing an up-tempo game 59-57 at Lester Prairie-Holy Trinity, New Life Academy made the adjustments needed on defense against Southwest Christian. It paid off with a 41-26 win over Southwest Christian Jan. 9. The Eagles shut down a guard-oriented Stars team in the paint, allowing 13 points in each half. “They played really great defense,” Eagles coach Amanda Jensen said. “It was a big improvement from Tuesday.