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St. Mary’s keeps it moving, downs RTR

Staff photo by Travis Rosenau Sleepy Eye St. Marys’ Kylie Pelzel (1) goes in for a layup during a nonconference girls basketball game with Russell-Tyler-Ruthton at St. Mary’s High School on Friday afternoon.

SLEEPY EYE — More often than not, good things happen when a team makes that extra pass.

Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s saw that on Friday afternoon at St. Mary’s High School as it rolled to a 73-40 win over Russell-Tyler-Ruthton in a nonconference girls basketball game at St. Mary’s High School.

St. Mary’s, led by Morgan Mathiowetz’s 25 points, six rebounds, six assists and three steals, also had an all-around solid defense in order to build a 30-point halftime lead.

“That’s one thing we consistently have to get better at — sometimes we just take too quick of shots and we don’t have good ball movement,” St. Mary’s head coach Bruce Woitas said. “When you have good ball movement, you just get a much better shot. We had that going for us in the first half, second half got away from us a little bit.

“But the other part I thought was our defensive intensity was really good in the first half. That really kind of sparked the offensive side a little bit as well.”

Kylie Pelzel also had 13 points, three assists and two steals for St. Mary’s, while Natalie Fischer had 13 points and Brynne Ibberson had 9 points, four assists and four steals. Amelia Schwartz added five rebounds also for St. Mary’s.

RTR saw Gabrielle Borresen lead the team with 11 points.

Despite an early 4-3 RTR lead, St. Mary’s got a 3 from Fischer, a bucket inside from Mathiowetz and a jumper from Pelzel to quickly jump in front 10-4. St. Mary’s never surrendered a lead again after that.

After a bucket from Avery Schreurs, who had 8 points, saw RTR down 10-6, St. Mary’s went on a 17-0 run to lead 27-6. The run saw a 3 each by Fischer and Olivia Schieffert.

St. Mary’s continued to create turnovers and turn them into points, holding a 47-17 halftime lead.

“We were just basically trying to play good, aggressive ball pressure in the half-court man-to-man … I thought we did a really good job with that,” Woitas said. “Everybody’s recognizing the ball, forced them into some situations maybe they weren’t comfortable with offensively, which created some turnovers. That’s something we’ve been working hard on in our few practices over break and we’ve just got to continue to get better at that.”

Mathiowetz picked up her third and fourth foul of the game less than four minutes into the second half and sat for a few minutes after her fourth, but St. Mary’s didn’t let that impact things too much. RTR did get a stronger offensive effort in the second half early on, outscoring St. Mary’s 14-11 to start the second half and trail 58-31.

“Obviously had a nice lead going into the half, so maybe they felt too comfortable,” Woitas said about his team’s start to the second half. “I always try to emphasize those first five to six minutes of the second half are the most important. We kind of got outplayed in that stretch, but then we kind of picked it up again.”

Part of St. Mary’s picking it back up again came after a putback and-one from Schwartz. While it was the only points Schwartz scored in the game, it kickstarted a 9-0 run.

After Mathiowetz checked back in and missed a 3 off the front of the rim, Schwartz got the rebound, scored and drew a foul. She then calmly turned that foul into a made free throw to put St. Mary’s back up 30.

A Pelzel bucket, sandwiched in between a pair of baskets by Mathiowetz, gave St. Mary’s a 67-31 lead moments later, the largest lead of the game.

St. Mary’s, now 8-3 on the season, starts its new year by traveling to take on Minnesota Valley Lutheran in a Tomahawk Conference matchup Thursday.

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