The St. Mary’s girls basketball team has seen some dramatic endings in its past three games.
Three points or less separated the three most recent games. On Dec. 6, the Knights hosted Springfield where the Tigers won 44-41.
It was a slow start for both teams in the first half, as St. Mary’s could only come up with eight points while Springfield managed 15. The second half was much more successful for the Knights. Junior Becca Schmitz made 16 of her 18 game-high points in the second half alone. Although St. Mary’s was finally able to step up their game, the Tigers responded with almost just as many buckets of their own.
“The second half was much better, but we couldn’t overcome the slow start,” Knights Coach Bruce Woitas said. “Springfield shot well from the foul line and that got them the win.”
The Tigers made 21 of their 35 free throw attempts, while St. Mary’s went 14-32 at the line which cost the team in the end.
Along with her 18 points, Schmitz had seven total rebounds on the night to lead the team. Behind her was junior Sabrina Portner, who had eight points along with eight rebounds. Senior Jamie Marti led in defensive rebounds with six.
On Dec. 9, the Knights hosted Sibley East where an equally matched game took place. Both teams were ready to go in the first half as both offenses put more than 20 points on the board. With only a few seconds remaining in the first, senior Nikki Carr had a nice steal and scored in transition to take a 25-24 lead at half.
St. Mary’s struggled in most of the second half. Sibley East stepped up its defense which forced the Knights to miss multiple shots from the outside. Meanwhile, the Wolverines’ momentum continued to grow as they were shooting well and forcing St. Mary’s to make some poor passes. The Knights found themselves down 40-47 with just under five minutes to go in the game.
But thanks to some shots made by Larissa Helget and Tori Anderson, St. Mary’s took the momentum back and showed great defense in the final minutes. After back-to-back leads, Helget made a nice steal and scored in transition to retake the lead 50-49 with under a minute left. It was then Carr who blocked a pass and fought for the ball. The ball was given to the Knights, where Schmitz was then fouled and made both free throws which sealed the win at 52-49. A final attempt was made by Sibley East, but a double dribble called by an official thwarted its chance.
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Schmitz once again led with 18 points and had five rebounds. She also made six out of her nine free throws. Meanwhile, Helget had nine points and four steals on the night. Portner had eight points and led in rebounds with 11 while Carr had five points and 11 steals.
On Dec. 10, St. Mary’s hosted Red Rock Central in the closest game yet.
The Falcons came out ready to play in the first half as they out-shot the Knights 29-22. St. Mary’s woke up in the second half and got some momentum with better passing under the basket. The Knights had a two point lead with 13 seconds left when a RRC player was fouled and made both free throws which tied the game at 51 to send the game into overtime.
This time the Falcons took a one point lead and St. Mary’s was forced to foul. The Knights had a final chance to tie it but came up short.
Schmitz led with 14 points and 13 rebounds, while Carr and Portner had 10 points apiece and combined for 12 rebounds.
The girls are now 2-3 and will travel to Sleepy Eye High this Thursday for the first crosstown game.