The St. Mary’s Lady Knights had everything to gain Thursday night, as they hosted the Sleepy Eye Indians in the girls’ second crosstown game of the season.

The St. Mary’s Lady Knights had everything to gain Thursday night, as they hosted the Sleepy Eye Indians in the girls’ second crosstown game of the season.

Indians 58

Knights 55

Both teams, and their coaches, were looking forward to this contest given their standings near the top of the conference, and the fact that their last game was a victory for the Indians by only two points. “We knew they’re a really good basketball team,” Madi Heiderscheidt said. “We knew we were in for a battle and they gave us what we expected.”

“It was a hard fought battle by both teams,” said Knights Head Coach Bruce Woitas. “I think each team missed out on some opportunities throughout, but overall it was a good game against a good team.”

It stayed a close contest all night, with the Indians starting things off with buckets from Heiderscheidt and McKenzie Cselovszki, before Heiderscheidt knocked down a trey—and she went on to hit three in the first half.

“McKenzie played very well tonight,” Indians Head Coach Ryan Hulke said. “She battled the boards, she had some big buckets.” Madison Mathiowetz hit two free throws and Malory Helget hit one at the start of the game.

Neither team pulled ahead by more than six points in the contest. Free throws were the name of the game in the first half, with the Knights hitting eight of ten thanks to shots from Mathiowetz, Helget and Sara Zinniel.

With the clock running down on the first half, Helget hit a free throw for the Knights, but Sarah Ibarra and Brianna Polesky were the difference makers for the Indians. Both knocked down field goals, to put Sleepy Eye up 32-28.

In the second half, Helget came out swinging for St. Mary’s, hitting a trey early and sinking two more later in the half. Cassie Heinrichs also knocked down two threes and St. Mary’s stayed right on the Indians’ heels.

Steals became the things to look out for in the second, with both teams forcing turnovers. With the faster pace in the game, both sides got time at the free throw line as well. With minutes on the clock, Indians Heiderschedit and Cselovszki rocked out the three points needed for the win, at the line.

“We were nervous looking at the clock and it kept us in the game,” said Heiderscheidt. She shot two and Cselovszki hit the final shot for the Indians win. “In a hometown rival game it’s intense and it often comes down to the final minutes of the game,” said Cselovszki.

Heiderscheidt led the Indians with 18 points. Ibarra shot 13 points and grabbed up nine rebounds. Cselovszki sank 12 points and got 10 rebounds and Polesky got 10 points and seven rebounds.

Helget led the Knights with 17 points. Heinrichs shot 16 points and got five rebounds.

“It’s very possible they could be our match-up March 2nd,” Hulke said. “It’s go time and we need to get better on a few things, I give a ton of credit to Bruce and his team. For what we have, we should’ve been at least 15 points better on the boards, and we weren’t, that’s a credit to them.”

“I feel overall we played well tonight,’ Woitas said. “We gave up some chances, but I liked our fight tonight.”