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Eagles soar past Saints in season opener

NEW ULM — New Ulm crushed St. James Area 72-57 on Saturday in Big South Conference boys’ basketball action.

SJA jumped out to an early 12-0 run in the first half. The Saints took advantage of cold shooting by New Ulm. SJA then hurt itself by missing easy shots.

James Osborne broke the ice for the Eagles when he nailed a 3-point shot with 12:45 remaining in the half. That woke up the Eagles and they continued to chip away at the Saints’ lead.

Colton Benson’s 3-pointer gave New Ulm its first lead of 19-17. SJA’s Hayden Jones made a basket and Adrian Luna hit a 3-pointer to tie the contest at 23-23.

The Eagles kept the lead until Mike Suarez canned a 3-pointer for SJA. Brayden Geariety answered for New Ulm with a layup, giving the Eagles a 32-31 halftime advantage.

New Ulm used a full-court press for the entire game. The Eagles’ shooting also improved and they kept that theme in the second half.

SJA took the lead early in the second half. Isaiah Miller’s 3-point shot with 14:00 remaining propelled New Ulm back into the lead. The Eagles didn’t look back after that. The Saints kept trying to comeback, but New Ulm’s confidence soared. The Eagles seemed to play almost perfect basketball, making certain shots look easy.

The Saints hurt themselves with turnovers, imperfect shot selection and an inability to solve New Ulm’s tough defense.

In one stretch, the Saints turned over the ball on consecutive possessions resulting in scores by New Ulm’s Josh Wenninger and Osborne resulted in the Eagles building a 57-47 advantage. The Eagles pulled away from there.

Wenninger led the Eagles with 20 points. Miller had 17 points and Osborne added 13 points. Miller hit four 3-pointers, while James Osborne had three 3-pointers for 9 points.

Jones was the lone Saint in double figures, scoring 27 points.

New Ulm (1-0, 1-0) hosts Blue Earth Area on Friday.

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