Steffensmeier leads Knights to state semis
MANKATO — In a sense, Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s Trent Steffensmeier had probably the biggest night of his varsity career on Wednesday night.
Playing in the Class A boys’ basketball quarterfinals, Steffensmeier scored 30 points to lead the Knights past Central Minnesota Christian 86-73 at Mankato East High School. The Knights will advance to the state semifinals next week to face Hancock at 10 a.m. on Wednesday at Target Center.
Steffensmeier also surpassed 1,000 career points with 7.2 seconds left in the first half on the first of two free throws. He now has 1,016 for his career with one year left.
It was a balanced scoring attack for the Knights, who won their 10th straight heading into the next week’s game. Kaleb Wait and Carson Domeier each scored 16 points and Kyle Goblirsch finished with 12 points. Jacob Lux finished with 9 points for the Knights (20-3).
Case Mulder led the Bluejays with 30 points. Ben Van Eps scored 18 and Caleb Vander Beek finished with 14. Blake Greenwaldt added 9 points for CMC, which finished the season at 18-5.
The Knights led from the get-go and never actually trailed in the game. A three-point play by Wait put the Knights ahead 9-3, but the Bluejays cut the lead to 21-19 on a basket by Mulder. However, the Knights went up 24-19 before a 3 made it 24-22. At that point, St. Mary’s went on a 7-0 run to go up 31-24 and they took a 40-26 lead into halftime.
The second half was much like the first, where St. Mary’s kept its foot on the gas and didn’t allow the Bluejays to get close. St. Mary’s went up 49-36 with about 13 minutes to play and a basket by Goblirsch saw the Knights grab a 63-48 lead with 6:46 left in the game. Later, the Knights saw their lead grow to 71-55, but the Bluejays closed the gap a little at the end.