St. Mary’s 96 Springfield 89

If you like good high school basketball then the game played between the St. Mary’s Knights and the Springfield Tigers Tuesday night would have satisfied even the most hard core fan. On the line was first place in the Tomahawk Conference and maybe even a lock on the championship. Paced by outstanding performances from Kansas Adams (28 points) and Sean Mathiowetz (27 points) of the Knights and Alex Fink (33 points) of the Tigers the two evenly matched teams battled it out wire-to-wire. St. Mary’s struggled in the first half, which seems to be their pattern against stronger teams. They were out-rebounded defensively and offensively by the Tigers, missed a few “easy” layups and made more turnovers than a large bakery. In spite of this the Knights stayed close to Springfield and at times even established a lead. In fact the lead changed hands several times throughout the game with neither team being able to pull away from the other. At the half, St. Mary's trailed 48-52. You had the feeling if they could just get hitting on all cylinders they should win this game.

The second half didn’t start well for the Knights and it looked like the Tigers just might be surging. However St. Mary’s came charging back with strong contributions from the bench. Mathiowetz, Adams, Joe Meyer, Jordan Anderson and Adam Sellner picked up their game and played faster in transition. They drove the lane with better affect; this time the ball was going in the hole. With about five minutes left in the game St. Mary’s took the lead and kept it, but it was still tense down the stretch. They had some opportunities from the foul line to put the game away, but couldn’t convert. Some good defense shut down the Alex Fink scoring machine and the Knights held on to win 96-89. What might have made the difference in the game is that St. Mary's had a stronger bench and a more balanced offense. Joe Meyer made some key baskets late in the second half that gave the Knights the lead. Being able to substitute and still continue to have strong play finally wore down the Tigers. This was a great win for the St. Mary’s program and puts them in good position to take the conference this year. “You can’t say we aren’t exciting,” said a visibly relieved Tim Milliard, St. Mary’s head coach. “We had some trouble on both ends of the court in the first half, but pulled it together to open a lead down the stretch.  Springfield is an excellent basketball team. This was a close one.”

Game stats
Kansas Adams:
28 points
Sean Mathiowetz:
27 points, 12 rebounds,
9 assists
Adam Sellner: 15 points
Jon Milliard: 9 points
Jordan Anderson:
6 rebounds
Joe Meyer: 3 rebounds

St. Mary’s 75
LeCenter 57
The Knights played a solid game against a good LeCenter Wildcats squad last Friday night, posting a non-conference win. Since both teams played a half-court defense it allowed them to bring the ball up on offense and set plays instead of fighting their way up court. This led to a more entertaining game featuring good passing and a more balanced perimeter – post up offense that had both long range shooting and close-in work under the rim. The first half got off to a slow start with St. Mary’s trailing 16-22 at the seven-minute mark. Then the Knights defense awoke and held the Wildcats almost scoreless for the rest of the half. In the meantime, led by Sean Mathiowetz’s triple double (16 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists) St. Mary’s reeled off 20 unanswered points to take a commanding lead at the half 39-26. The second half was more even, 36-31, but the damage had been done and LeCenter could not make up the huge deficit from the first half. “We didn’t shoot the ball as well as I would like from two point range (17/37), but we were able to create some turnovers on defense which I thought was the difference in the game,” said Milliard. “We only had eight turnovers, which is excellent and will be important as we get ready for the playoffs.” All five starters for the Knights scored in double figures for a balanced attack.

Game stats:
Sean Mathiowetz:
16 points, 10 assists,
10 rebounds
Kansas Adams:
18 points
Jon Milliard: 11 points
Adam Sellner: 11 points