St. Mary’s holds off GFW in second half for 50-38 victory

SLEEPY EYE — Sleepy Eye St. Marys’ commanding first half lead was enough to stay ahead of the Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop Thunderbirds despite the Thunderbirds outshooting the Knights in the second half on Tuesday night.

St. Mary’s (11-2) won the Tomahawk Conference girls’ basketball matchup 50-38 with the Knights improving to a 7-1 conference record.

“We got off to a good start, a fast start, our kids battled and it was good for us to get a game like this — I am happy with our start and we have to keep working hard to see where we finish in the end,” St. Mary’s coach Bruce Woitas said.

Cassie Heinrichs dropped 9 points before any other player could find the net as the Knights bolted out in front.

In the early minutes of the first half the Knights led 15-5 by pulling down defensive rebounds as the Thunderbirds (5-5) struggled shooting from all over the court.

Heinrichs led all scoring in the first half, with 11 points and Madison Mathiowetz followed with 10 points for the Knights.

The Thunderbirds were able to control the ball and find the hoop as the first half began to expire and the Knights lead at 16-points.

GFW’s Shelby Ramirez put up 5 points in the final three minutes of the first to lead her team in the half, scoring 5 from the bench.

The Thunderbirds outscored the Knights 24-20 in the second half and twice brought the game to with in 8 points as GFW came out strong in the second.

“The second half, with that kind of effort, will find us some success through out the season, GFW coach Richard Busse said. “When you are dialed in and thinking about doing all the little things right, the scoring just takes care of itself.”

GFW’s Abby Heimkes dropped a 3-pointer which was an in-and-out shot before dropping in as the Thunderbirds know trailed 39-32 with 9:31 left to play in the game.

St. Mary’s Mathiowetz kept the hot hand in the second half to score another 10 points and kept GFW from getting with in reach. Mathiowtez led the Knights with a double-double, scoring 20 points and adding 14 rebounds and six assists.

The Knights’ defense was able to keep the Thunderbirds from finding the basket in the final three minutes of the game as GFW struggled to close the scoring gap.

Heimkes led GFW with 11 points, Ramirez tallied 8 points, Grace Swenson pulled in six rebounds and Miah Busse had five steals.

Heinrichs ended with 11 points and three steals, while Sydney Windschitl dropped 11 points with eight rebounds.

The Thunderbirds will travel for a 7:30 p.m. game on Friday to Wabasso.

St. Mary’s is on the road against Red Rock Central at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday in Lamberton.