Knights hold off Tigers

Staff photo by Steve Muscatello Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s Madison Mathiowetz (23) takes a shot as Katelyn Hauth of Springfield defends on the play in the first half Monday at SESM. Looking on is the Knights’ Mallory Helget (10). For more photos of this event go to cu.nujournal.com

SLEEPY EYE — Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s edged the Springfield 54-45 in a Tomahawk Conference girls’ basketball battle Monday night.

The Tigers (1-4) failed early to put the ball in the net, from deep outside the 3-point line. Defensive play kept the game close as both teams started scoring from the inside.

Mallory Helget hit a 3-pointer for the Knights to break away from a close battle and the Knights began to score points from deep under the basket, earning a 24-17 lead deep into the first half.

The Tigers defense held the Knights as they closed the gap with a 24-21 Knights’ lead at the end of the first half.

Madison Mathiowetz led the Knights first half with 7 points, ending the night with 12 points seven rebounds and two steals.

For the Tigers, Sydney Hauger and Arynzi Rabb both had 6 points to lead the team in the first half.

Early in the second half Hauger drove down deep after a steal at mid-court and completed the lay-up and a free throw to tie the game at 26.

“We started slow but our defense is good and that helped in the second half, we started to get powerful on defense making our offense more powerful,” Hauger said. “We tried to get it to the post more and the shots were flying, it is all about pushing through when players get tired, we just have to keep going.”

For the Tigers, Hauger had 15 points early in the half to keep the game close.

St. Mary’s Cassie Heinrichs hit a 3 that was immediately answered by a 3 from Hauger.

“Our energy was there tonight, [St. Mary’s] had a stretch there were every shot they took seemed were going in, not that our defense was bad, it is something we will learn and improve on every day,” Springfield coach Dillon Schultz said.

Heinrichs hit another 3 later in the half as the Knights began to pull away with a 39-32 lead with 10 minutes left to play.

Both teams continued to dominate defensively, keeping the game evenly matched going into the final minutes of the game.

“The key difference for us was our defensive play was really good, late in the second half we got some key steals forcing them to take shots that they may not have wanted to take and getting those rebounds,” St. Mary’s coach Bruce Woitas said.

Springfield put points on the board from deep in the zone as St. Mary’s spread out its defense to keep the lead. Heinrichs hit another 3-pointer to pull away late.

“We had some nice offensive possessions with some 3-pointers and a transition lay-up to extend the lead,” Woitas said.

With the win, the Knights improved to 6-1 on the season.

Hauger led the Tigers with 21 points and six steals, Rabb tallied 6 points and seven rebounds.

Heinrichs led the Knights with 13 points, Jody Hansen had 9 points with 10 steals, eight assists and seven rebounds, Mathiowetz tallied 12 points with seven rebounds and two steals.

Springfield will travel to Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop at 7:30 p.m. on Friday.

St. Mary’s will host Nicollet/Mankato Loyola at 6 p.m. on Friday.

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