Cathedral wins in OT against St. Clair

Staff photo by Steve Muscatello New Ulm Cathedral’s James Gillis takes a shot over a St. Clair defender during the first half Thursday at CHS. For more photos of this event go to

NEW ULM — Thanks to balanced scoring, New Ulm Cathedral was able to escape its first game of the season with a 77-70 overtime win over St. Clair in nonconference boys’ basketball action on Thursday.

The Greyhounds (1-0) were led by Jon Zinniel with 17 points and five steals. Also for Cathedral, James Gillis scored 16 points, Nathan Hauser had 15 points and Alex Hillesheim had 12 points and eight rebounds.

A back-and-forth game for the Greyhounds turned into an overtime free-throw battle in which they won, sinking 10 of 10 free throws, while Zinniel added a layup off of a steal.

“We wanted to make it a fast-paced game,” Greyhounds coach Alan Woitas said. “Our help side had to be there and we had to get in front of the post. And we did that at times, obviously [Grant] Nagel had a really good night for them, he’s a big guy, he willed up some shots and did a nice job. And they out-rebounded us pretty bad.

“But I thought we did a nice job rebounding in overtime and the last three minutes of regulation and that’s where we made our little run.”

The Greyhounds took a 13-10 lead after a 3 by Zinniel, but St. Clair tied it up right after on a 3-pointer by eighth-grader Devin Embacher. Embacher had 14 points for the Cyclones.

A layup by Hauser extended Cathedral’s lead to 22-17, but St. Clair ended up taking a 29-26 lead on another Embacher 3-pointer. The lead was the Cyclones first since they led 8-7 early on, and they took a 37-31 advantage into the half.

Cathedral tied it up at 44-44 in the second half after Gillis sank his fourth 3 of the night. After a rebound and put-back bucket by Nagel, who led the Cyclones with 25 points on the night, St. Clair led 51-49.

Back-to-back buckets by Hauser and Jacob Manderfeld gave Cathedral a 53-51 lead to force a St. Clair timeout. Manderfeld added 9 points for Cathedral on the night.

A Zinniel 3-pointer and layup gave the Greyhounds a 62-54 lead and forced another Cyclones’ timeout with 5:05 to play. After a costly Greyhounds’ turnover with under 30 seconds to play, the Cyclones tied it up on a bucket by Nagel to force overtime.

Due to an increase in energy and effective free throw shooting in overtime, however, the Greyhounds walked off of their home court with the win.

“Our energy level picked up, we responded pretty well to them going on a 4-0 run to end the half,” Woitas said. “Maybe we didn’t have some things bounce our way there at the end, but the guys just responded, came out and fought, and it’s a fun atmosphere.”

The Greyhounds next host Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday.