The St. Mary’s Knights hosted their yearly girls Tip-Off Tournament on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 24 and 25.

The St. Mary’s Knights hosted their yearly girls Tip-Off Tournament on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 24 and 25.

Sleepy Eye 80

JWP 37

The Indians kicked off the tournament on Friday with a game against the Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton Bulldogs. The Indians came into their season hot, with a huge win over JWP. “I thought we did a nice job of staying focused on the defensive end Friday night,” Indians Coach Ryan Hulke said. “We made JWP play fast and we forced them into 44 turnovers.”

Madi Heiderscheidt led the team, scoring 24 points for the game, plus seven steals and four assists, putting her three points away from 1,000 career points.

Sarah Ibarra followed close behind, with 20 points and eight steals. Brianna Polesky got eight points and five assists and McKenzie Cselovszki put up 14 points and got five rebounds.

“I thought for the most part we shot the ball pretty well from outside,” said Hulke. “JWP did a nice job taking away the paint, so we needed to make shots.”

St. Mary’s 91

NCA 2

With a last minute change to the team rosters, St. Mary’s hosted the New Century Academy team. NCA is a newer ball team and on only their second year playing varsity basketball. Coach Bruce Woitas thought it was hard to coach against such a new team, given his players skill level and years of experience. “NCA, being new, struggled all night,” Woitas said. “They worked hard however and had a great attitude.”

By halftime the Knights were up 61-2 and playing their second string. In the second half, the Knights scored another 30 points and NCA was not able to score, in spite of a little help from the Knights. Woitas said, “We got everyone in the game and all our players that played got to score. It was a tough game to coach based on skill levels.”

Madison Mathiowetz scored 16 points and got four steals. Mallory Helget shot 12 points and Sydney Windschitl scored 10 points and grabbed four rebounds.

St. Mary’s 69

JWP 45

Eager for a level fight, the Knights came out fast on Saturday, against JWP. The girls were passing and making the Bulldogs play at their pace. “We started the game strong, only to see JWP fight their way back before halftime,” Woitas said. At halftime the Knights led 31-24, after the Bulldogs’ push-back.

In the second half, defense made the difference for St. Mary’s. The Knights kept JWP from scoring and built a 20-point lead. Once again, the Bulldogs attempted to work their way back, but the Knights held their lead until the clock ran out. “I really liked the way we played tonight,” Woitas said. “I thought our defense was strong.”

Cassie Heinrichs led the Knights on offense with 18 points, 11 rebounds and three steals.

Sleepy Eye 105

NCA 11

The final game of the tournament pitted the Sleepy Eye Indians against NCA. “Saturday was a unique situation with NCA being brand new to the MSHSL and only in their second year playing organized basketball,” Hulke said.

Heiderscheidt crossed off a personal goal, scoring her 1,000th point in the first half. “I’m very proud of the hard work Madi has put in to get back to 100 percent,” said Hulke. “Not only did she come back from ACL surgery, but then in November of last year, to have another surgery on the same knee really set her back again.”

“It felt great reaching my 1,000 points,” Heiderscheidt said. “It was nice to be rewarded and still be able to accomplish something I had set for myself, even after my injuries.”

The Indians played a lighter game against NCA giving them a chance to learn. “I talked to the girls about being a new coach and building a new program,” Hulke said. “We lost a lot, and by a lot, at the beginning.”

Cselovszki led the attack with 16 points. Heiderscheidt scored 14 points, 14 assists (new single game school record) and seven rebounds for the night. Sarah Ibarra scored 11 points. Madison Krueger, Hanna Himmelman and Mariah Miller each scored 10 points.

“I thought our girls handled themselves with class; it was fun to see NCA put some points on the board and the excitement they had after making those baskets,” Hulke said.