The stands were quiet with just a faint rustle of anticipation. Junior Sean Mathiowetz stood at the foul line. He had 999 points in his career with St. Mary’s and was shooting two. He lofted his first shot and … clang … off the rim, an uncharacteristic miss. A sigh of disappointment went through the crowd. The referee tipped the ball to him and once again he toed the line. The buzz in the gym died again. With his pure shooting form, he launched another shot that seemed to disappear into the rafters. Down it came, not even touching the rim … nothing but net. As the saying goes, the place went nuts. The game was halted and the 1,000 point ball saved for him. After congratulations from his teammates, coach and family, the game resumed.
At this point, the Knights had a commanding 20-plus point lead over GFW and there was little doubt as to the outcome of the game. After a tentative start with both teams missing early opportunities to score, GFW and St. Mary’s were tied 9-9. From that point on, the Knights started to get the upper hand as their perimeter shooting warmed up and they started to find the range. GFW had good height and tried to play a post-up game. There was a lot of contact under the net and play featured a lot of collisions and bodies slamming to the floor. The Thunderbirds out-rebounded the Knights throughout the game, but couldn’t convert those opportunities into points. The teams went into the locker room at halftime with St. Mary’s in the lead, 46-23.
It was more of the same in the second half: deadly outside shooting from the Knights and a frustrating time in the paint for the Thunderbirds. St. Mary’s started rebounding better on the defensive end and when GFW mounted mini-rallies, they were able to snuff them out with a timely three-pointer. It’s hard to believe that GFW has only one win this season. The team plays hard all 36 minutes, they clearly have some talent and should have a better record. If this game is any indication, their undoing is a non-existent outside shooting game. The Thunderbirds just couldn’t score from the top of the key or from the baseline corners. The harassing defense from the Knights forced GFW to work the ball inside to give their scorers a fighting chance at a point, but when playing a talented team like St. Mary’s, that one-dimensional game isn’t going to cut it. In contrast, the Knights buried 19 three-point shots to rack up 57 points for the 91-64 win.
When asked after the game if he knew he was shooting for 1,000 at the foul line, Mathiowetz admitted he knew how close he was. “I could tell from my teammates and from the crowd reaction that I had a chance to get to the 1,000 mark. Now it’s a relief to have it over. It was a bit of a minor distraction and now we can concentrate on winning the conference and, I hope, win the sectionals. I was getting good looks at the basket and as a team we were shooting well so the important thing is we got a conference win,” he said.
Sean Mathiowetz: 18 points, 8 assists,
6 steals, 7 rebounds
Adam Sellner: 16 points
Jordan Anderson: 13 points
Kansas Adams: 13 points
Jon Milliard: 13 points
Kyle Krzmarzick: 7 points, 3 rebounds
St. Mary's 77, New Ulm Cathedral 51
The Knights were focused on two things last Friday night: avenging an early season loss to the New Ulm Cathedral Greyhounds and erasing the bad taste of a disappointing loss to Buffalo Lake-Hector, a game that St. Mary’s almost won after a furious second half rally. After a no-nonsense warm up, the Knights ripped into the Greyhounds like a hungry wolf into a lamb chop. Cathedral never knew what hit them as St. Mary’s played awesome defense with grim determination. The packed gym saw the Knights establish a dominant 36-19 lead at halftime. Adam Sellner opened second half scoring with a three and St. Mary’s continued to pile it on. Even though Cathedral worked the ball well offensively, every time they tried to penetrate the lane or get a good look from the perimeter, a green-shirted Knight blocked their way. At one point in the second half, St. Mary’s had a 28 point lead and the sting from those previous losses was fading into distant memory.
“This was an excellent win over a very good New Ulm Cathedral team,” said coach Tim Milliard. “The guys bounced back well after a tough loss to BL-H. Our defensive energy was excellent and we rebounded very well. Once again we had good balance on offense.”
Sean Mathiowetz: 17 points, 14 rebounds
Jordan Anderson: 16 points
Kansas Adams: 13 points
Joe Meyer: 8 points
Adam Sellner: 8 points
Jon Milliard: 7 points, 10 rebounds