The St. Mary’s girls basketball team saw polar opposite results in its two games last week.

The St. Mary’s girls basketball team saw polar opposite results in its two games last week.

On Jan. 23, St. Mary’s hosted Martin Luther in a battle of the Knights. St. Mary’s got an early 12-6 lead, which turned into an even bigger lead down the stretch. St. Mary’s excelled on defense, scoring several times in transition after recording a total of 18 steals on the night. St. Mary’s solid defense allowed its offense plenty of time to rack up points. With three minutes left in the first half, senior Larissa Helget dropped in a three followed by a two pointer to give them a 34-13 advantage, which led to the 39-18 score at halftime.

“Defense created some offense for us,” Coach Bruce Woitas said. “We just had a good flow there in the first half where we were getting some transitions, getting some inside baskets, hitting the outside shots, and when you play like that we’re going to win some games.”

The second half began with a scoring frenzy on both sides. Martin Luther stepped up on defense, but St. Mary’s continued to do well on offense, using its quickness to score even more times in transition. St. Mary’s had a steady 20 point lead throughout the second half, which was more than enough room to breathe and let some of the younger athletes get some playing time toward the end. The 20 point lead turned into a 30 point lead after Helget made another basket on a fast break to bring the score to 67-37. St. Mary’s went on to win big, 69-42.

Helget led with 21 points, adding five rebounds, four steals and three assists. Behind her was Nikki Carr and Sabrina Portner, who scored 12 points apiece. Portner led in rebounds with 11, while Carr added four. Junior Tori Anderson had seven points, seven rebounds and three steals. Meanwhile, junior Becca Schmitz had five points, eight rebounds, and three assists.

On Jan. 25, the Knights traveled to Mankato Loyola where an opposite scenario played out. The Crusaders took the early lead while St. Mary’s were forced back on offense. The Knights were behind for most of the game and could never quite catch up, as they lost 44-68.

Schmitz led with a double-double after scoring 16 points and adding 15 rebounds. Carr added eight points while Portner had seven points and eight rebounds.