The Sleepy Eye Indians girls basketball team hosted their cross-town rivals, the St. Mary’s Knights, on Friday, Feb. 10.

The Sleepy Eye Indians girls basketball team hosted their cross-town rivals, the St. Mary’s Knights, on Friday, Feb. 10.

Sleepy Eye 74

St. Mary’s 40

This was the second time the Knights faced this top-ranked Indians team and they came in playing hard. The gym was packed, the tensions were high, and people were still arguing about the local boys game the night before.

The whistle blew and the game was on. Indian Madison Heiderscheidt started off the night sinking a three-pointer. The opening minutes were an exchange of points by both teams with no clear lead. In a very impressive stretch, the Knights went for a 10-point run over the Indians and took the lead. The crowd went wild as it seemed the Knights had a real shot at controlling the floor.

“We had a good first half,” said Knights head coach Bruce Woitas. With the Knights up by one at 18-17, Knight Megan Ziegler got to the free throw line, sinking both shots. The Knights led 20-17 and the gym grew restless. You could hear people asking the question, “Could they win?”

“We scored five points from the five minute mark to the 15 minute mark,” said Indians head coach Ryan Hulke. “We just didn’t hit shots and we didn’t get to the rim.”

The Indians’ Sarah Ibarra got the ball and shot for a three. The shot was good, tying the game at 20-20. Heiderscheidt shot a layup, grabbed a rebound and scored again, to pull the Indians ahead by four. Knight Megan Labat had an opportunity to bring the score closer together at the free throw line but unfortunately only sank one shot. The Indians pulled further ahead with McKenzie Cselovszki making a free throw and Heiderscheidt closing out the half with another three. The game went to halftime 28-21, Indians.

At the opening of the second half, Heiders-cheidt and Ibarra both put up two points. “We became more patient on offense,” Heiderscheidt said. Knight Anna Lux got herself to the free throw line and sank both shots, beginning a very good night—scoring on eight of nine free throws. “You always try and take the open shots you get and share the ball if you don’t have it,” Lux said.

After Ibarra missed two free throws, the Indians went on a 12-point run that ended with Madison Krueger putting up two free throws. The Indians had built a strong lead for themselves at 45-26. Lux shot two more free throws that found the hoop. Indian Brianna Polesky put up her second three-pointer of the night to give the Indians a 20-point lead.

After some back and forth shots between the two teams, the Indians pulled off another run for 14 points. “We didn’t change anything but our mentality about getting to the rim and getting the shot,” Hulke said. Cselovszki kicked it off with back to back two-pointers. Heiderscheidt, Jaidyn McGee and Cassidy Hacker put up another 10 points to put the Indians at a 70-33 lead.

“We didn’t do what we set out to do,” said Lux. “Public plays good defense and we didn’t play as well as we hoped to.” After McGee shot from a rebound the Knights’ Lexie Anderson and Sydney Windschitl added four points to the Knights trailing score. McGee put up one more shot and the game ended with Knight Windschitl sinking two free throws.

“Sleepy Eye played a very physical game, and it worked out for them as we just couldn’t get anything going in the second half,” said Woitas. “You have to give a lot of credit to the Indians. They are a tough team.” “I’m very proud of the effort,” Hulke said. “It’s always fun to play St. Mary’s; they are a good basketball team. These players are all friends and it’s a ton of fun.”

The Indians were led by Heiderscheidt with 20 points and five assists. “I just want to a leader for my team,” said Heiderscheidt. “Whether it’s shooting or playing defense.” Ibarra got 14 points, four steals and four assists, followed by Cselovszki with 13 points and eight rebounds.

Anna Lux led the Knights with 12 points, five rebounds and two steals. Mallory Helget scored seven points.