The Saints boys basketball team lost two additional games this past week. SJA lost to Waseca on the road and Pipestone at home.
Bluejays 76 Saints 62
After being tied at the half 34 all, the Saints were outscored in the second half and lost on the road at Waseca last Friday by a score of 76-62.
The Saints demonstrated one of the hallmarks of winning basketball - balanced scoring with four players in double figures.
Zach Brandts had 16, Jone Nelson had 15, Walker Froehling had 12 and Ryan Menssen had 11.
It was the battle under the boards that badly hurt SJA. The Saints had 32 rebounds with seven of them offensive, while Waseca had 45 rebounds with 19 of them offensive.
This contributed to the Bluejays having a big advantage in shots made and attempted. Waseca went 31 of 79 from the floor, while the Saints were 21 of 54.
Head Coach Steve Walker said, “To Waseca's credit they really turned it up on both ends in the second half. They also made some outside threes which came at key points in the game.”
Pipestone 71 Saints 65
The Arrows came into town on the strong winds of that cold front that slashed across the region on Saturday night and iced the Saints 71-65.
As Pipestone only had three wins this season, it was possible the Saints might come out with a victory but several factors prevented that from happening.
There were stretches where SJA had shooting that was about as cold as the wind outside. The Saints made too many turnovers against the aggressive half court Arrow defense. The players from Pipestone often cut into the Saints passing lanes and picked of SJA passes.
Zach Brandts was really getting hacked in the opening minutes of the game. A Saints fan might say that Pipestone was playing dirty, but this reporter will only say that the Arrows were committing some real hard fouls and a lot of them.
Stats show SJA has a high scoring offense, but there are times when that offense does not appear to be on the court.
The Saint took a 5-4 lead at the 15:40 mark and trailed 10-8 with a little over 14 minutes to play in the half.
Then the Saints went Arctic ice cold and didn’t score until there was only 5:17 left in the first half. Zach Brandts sank a pair of free throws to get the Saints in double figures with 10. Unfortunately, the Arrows had 27 by then.
Page 2 of 2 - The Saints put on a press and went on a run. From the point of Brandts’ free throws, the Saints outscored the Arrows 20-10 to end the half trailing 37-28. In this late first half stretch Brandts made a three and then Ryan Menssen tossed in back to back threes.
Pipestone had ten first half fouls and the Saints had eight turnovers at halftime.
The second half started with a burst of scoring from the Saints.
Walker Froehling opened up the second half scoring with a layup, Brandts got another layup, was fouled and completed a three point play. The Saints got within one at 37-36 on a Joe Nelson three pointer with 16:36 left to play.
The Saints caught another big chill as Pipestone went on a 16-4 run to open the lead back up to 53-40. The Saints went on an 8-0 run to cut the lead to 53-48.
The Arrows opened up a ten point lead at 60-50 with 4:17 to go. The Saints could get no closer than 65-59 when Brandts scored a layup with about 2:05 to play.
The Arrows made enough free throws down the stretch to secure the 71 to 65 victory.
Brandts led the Saints with 26, Froehling and Ryan Menssen each had 12.
The Saints had 16 turnovers for the game. Pipestone is a young team, but it is also a tall team and the Arrows had a big rebounding advantage over the Saints.
SJA had 20 rebounds, with just three of them offensive rebounds, while the Arrows had 40 rebound, with 15 of those offensive.
That resulted in a huge shot advantage for the visitors, as Pipestone was 29 of 59 from the floor, while the Saints were 20 of 45.
Head Coach Steve Walker said, “We did a nice job of getting back in the game after being down 27-8, by cutting it to being down to 37-36 in second half.
“But we had 16 turnovers, pretty much all unforced and gave up 15 offensive rebounds while only getting three. Those are pretty easy things to look at as to why we didn't get a win.”