Friday night the Saints (St. James), hosted the Saints (St. Peter) in boys basketball. The B-squad game ended up going a little late, so spectators filing in to catch the beginning of the varsity game were treated to a great B-squad contest. St. James ended up losing by two with a shot to win the game at the buzzer with a 3 pointer that harmlessly bounced off the rim. The great contest was a preview for what the crowd was going to see in the varsity game.
In the second half St. James came out firing, with a three from Sandin Skow, a lay-up and a post up score from Brady Stevens, St. James scored the first seven points to finally take the lead 42-39.
Their lead did not last for long because St. Peter went on a 12-4 run to take back the lead. St. James then scored the next five points to tie the game back up.
With just over a minute and a half left in the game, Skow knocked down a couple free throws to tie the game at 62. St. Peter worked the ball around and got it inside on their next possession which lead to what seemed to be a rejection by Stevens, instead a foul was called on the shot and St. Peter converted on one of the two free throws to give them a one point lead.
The very next possession, Skow drove the ball to the rim and made a layup as well as getting fouled. Skow was unable to convert the old fashioned three point play, but St. James was able to take a 64-63 lead with one minute left.
After trying to force a steal, St. James was forced to play the foul game as the clock dwindled down. Unfortunately for St. James, St. Peter got the ball to one of their better shooters, Owen Little, and he nailed both free throws stretching the lead to 66-63.
With seven seconds left in the game and St. James down by three, Lucas Fredin inbounded the ball to Parker Jones. Jones took the ball across halfcourt, tossed it over to Skow in the left wing who threw it back to Jones at the top of the key for a pretty solid look at the tie, but the ball caromed off the back rim.
Sandin Skow lead the team with his season high of 26 points, Fredin also added 13, but these were the only two St. James players that scored in double digits. Although Stevens scored well under his season average, he was still able to snag 8 rebounds to lead the team.
Perhaps the biggest stat that prevented the St. James victory was that they shot 12 for 22 (55%) from the free throw line. “Definitely a game we should’ve won. We just didn’t hit our free throws or open looks down the stretch. We have to learn how to close out games,” said head coach Alex Hein. In a three point game every point is valuable, especially points that are labeled “free.” So far this season St. James is 0-4 in games decided by 10 points or less. Also their average margin of victory is 20.8 points, whereas their average margin of defeat is 8.5 points. This shows that St. James has not yet learned to win close games, but not to worry, there is plenty of time to right the ship. The goal is to playing the best basketball of the year in March.
St. James was also scheduled to play Mountain Lake, but it became the third game to be postponed this season due to weather. The game will be made up on February 14th.
For more information please see the January 19 print edition of the St. James Plaindealer.