The Saints hosted Waseca last Friday night and lost their SCC opener by a 78 to 60 score.
The game was much closer than the final score indicates, especially the first half action, and the Saints had spurts where they played really good basketball.
In the end the Bluejays appeared to be a little quicker than the Saints and had a bulkier front line which gave the visitors an advantage on the boards.
The lead flipped numerous times in the first 13 minutes of the game. Waseca jumped out to an early lead and held it until the Saints point guard Joe Nelson converted a pair of free throws to give SJA an 8-7 lead at 15:34.
The Bluejays came back for an 11 to 8 lead, but the Saints went on a mini-run to take a 13-11 lead at the 14:20 mark.
The score was tied at 15 and then Zach Brandts gave the Saints a 16-15 lead with a free throw.
The Saints opened up a three point lead at 20-17 at 10:15. SJA retook the lead on a powerful drive that Walker Froehling made to the basket at 6:55.
The Saints held a 27 to 25 lead with a little more than six minutes to play in the half. Waseca edged out to a 30-29 lead with four minutes left in the first half.
The game remained close. With the Saints holding the ball, Froehling made another strong move to the basket and plowed into a Waseca defender. He was called for charging and that resulted in Waseca being able to widen their lead to 34-29.
The Saints couldn't keep up the scoring pace as the first half wound down.
Waseca held a 46-39 halftime lead over the Saints.
The Saints had some runs in the second half, but Waseca was always able to turn SJA back. The Saints only managed to score 21 points in the second half.
In the second half Waseca opened up a 12 point lead 56-44 with little under 13 minutes to go and held a 59 to 48 lead with less than 11 minutes to go.
Then the Saints went on a nice 7-0 run with the team hitting a couple of threes in transition and they were able to close the gap to 59-56 with a little under nine minutes to go.
It could have been even closer as Zach Brandts had an open drive to the basket but was clobbered by a Waseca defender. The basketball term for the foul might have been blocking, but anyone who saw it knows it was a real hard foul.
Zach was angry and felt the foul should have been intentional. The foul worked for Waseca as Zach couldn't settle down and missed two free throws.
Missed free throws was a real problem for the Saints on Friday night. They shot only 44 percent for the game.
Page 2 of 2 - Brandts was 2 of 8 from the line and Froehling was 2 of 6 from the line. The team was 8 of 18 from the stripe.
Brandts led the Saints with 20 and Froehling had 14. Nelson was the other Saint in double figures with 11.
Starter Ryan Menssen had two points but only played in the opening minutes because he was coming off of an illness. Devon Schmitz played most of the minutes in Menssen's absence and tossed in seven points.
Brandts led the Saints with nine rebounds and Froehling and Nelson each had six rebounds. Froehling led SJA with six assists.
Waseca had a tough half court defense and that led to the Saints only attempting ten three pointers and making just four. SJA was 9-19 in their first game. For the game SJA was 50 percent from the field.
Though the Saints got to within 59-56, it was pretty much Waseca down the stretch as the Bluejays went on a 19-4 run to finish the game.
Assessing the Saints play, Head Coach Steve Walker said, "We were unable to stop their inside post play. They had three guys 6-5 that rotated and we had a tough time stopping their inside game. "We need to keep working on help defense because we did not step in to stop them as much as we needed to. We did take four charges in the game which is good, but we still need to get to help defense quicker."
On Waseca Walker said, "They are a very good man-man defensive team, pretty quick, physical, and pretty athletic-one of the better half court teams defensively that we may see all year. We played hard against a team that will challenge for the title in our league."