New Ulm boys sneak past St. James 64-59

Staff photo by Steve Muscatello New Ulm’s Matt Janke (23) takes a shot as Mason Firchau of St. James defends on the play during the second half Friday at New Ulm High School. For more photos of this event go to cu.nujournal.com

NEW ULM — Connor Foley’s rebound basket with 57 seconds left in the game broke a 59-59 tie and Braden Zimmerman canned two free throws with 14 seconds left and then buried two more with nine seconds remaining as the New Ulm Eagles held off St. James 64-59 Friday night in a Big South Conference game at New Ulm High School.

Foley ended with 24 points to lead all scorers. Matt Janke ended with 21 as New Ulm improved to 2-1 in the conference and 3-2 overall.

Foley now sits at 972 career points.

Parker Jones paced the Saints (0-1;2-3) with 20 points with Kobe Mohwinkel added 18.

“I told the kids after the game that sometimes it just comes down to making plays,” Eagles coach Steve Foley said. “Reece (Melby) had that steal and layup that gave us a (59-57) lead and then Connor made a big play. And Braden hit those free throws down the stretch. They were all big plays.”

The Eagles, who host LeSueur-Henderson tonight at 7:30 in a nonconference meeting, held leads as big as 10 points in the first half as Janke hit a bucket that sparked a 5-0 run to give New Ulm a 26-16 lead at the 6:38 mark of the first half.

“We were doing some nice things and taking some good shots,” coach Foley said. “And we were sharing the ball real well — everyone was contributing. And then (St.James) went to a 2-3 hybrid zone and that gave us fits. They sat two of three guys around Connor.”

St. James used that to cut the lead to 26-20 on two free throws from Kobe Mohwinkel.

The Eagles regained some momentum to take a 32-25 lead on a 3-pointer from Melby before the Saints cut the lead to 32-29 at halftime.

St. James battled and grabbed its first lead of the game at 44-43 on a 3 from Mohwinkel and increased that to 47-43.

“I talked to the kids about playing with confidence,” coach Foley said. “They are not guarding me and I can’t shoot. Our kids are open and they are good shooters ­– they were tentative, which shocked me, but they seemed scared to shoot.”

Foley said that the win that they had to come from behind to get can be a confidence builder.

“This was a nice win.” he said. “We were up and then down but we had the tenacity to face that adversity to win. It showed character.”

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