SESM’s run for perfection comes up short in the state semifinals

Kip Kovar, Special to the Herald-Dispatch

The Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s girls basketball team was chasing perfection this season. Coming into their Class A State Tournament semifinal matchup, the Knights were a perfect 23-0.

Being perfect isn’t easy and that ultimate goal for the Knights came up just short in a 51-50 loss to Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa in the Class A semifinals Tuesday morning.

After both teams struggled to get things going early, Madison Mathiowetz started the second half off strong. She scored the first six points of the half, helping SESM grab a 26-24 lead.

Madison Mathiowetz was the top scorer (for both teams) with 23 points, in today's State Tournament semifinal game.

Points were hard to come by on either side. SESM shot just 29.2% from the field, yet still found themselves right in the thick of things late. Down five with just under two minutes to go, it was Emma Currans who gave SESM some life. A 3-pointer from Currans brought the Lady Knights within two.

After Currans gave the Knights life, Regan Severson kept them alive again. A steal at midcourt led to a three-point play to bring SESM within two, with 55.5 seconds left to play.

B-B-E would split a pair of free throws on the ensuing possession, keeping it a one-possession game. 

A bucket from Sydney Windschitl gave the Knights life again. Her score made it a one-point game with 25.6 seconds left. After a pair of three throws for B-B-E pushed their lead to four, Madison Mathiowetz hit a deep 3-pointer with 2.3 seconds left. With SESM out of timeouts, the clock ran out as the Knights came up just short in their ultimate goal of a state title.

Mathiowetz led the way for the Knights with 23 points. Severson and Windschitl both added 10 points, while Emma Currans finished with three points.

Seniors on this year’s team include Windschitl, Currans, Leah Miller, Sophie Portner, Megan Ahlness, Emily Weiss, and Maryanne Larsen.

Coach Bruce Woitas was proud of his teams’ effort in the game. 

“I thought our kids played their hearts out and we just came up short against a very good team,” he said. “I am so grateful to our seven seniors and for their great leadership during this season, they will be missed.”