The St. James Area boys basketball team started in their new season to the tune of a 75-55 victory over Lake Crystal Wellcome-Memorial.
It was the first win for Spencer Monson as the head coach of the boy's team.
Parker Jones got his senior season started with a bang, hitting two threes in the first two minutes.
James Sullivan was able to match Jones’s output early, but the Saints jumped out to an 11-6 advantage just three minutes into the game.
The Saints then hit a cold spell, falling behind 13-11, but freshman Hayden Jones collected his first varsity bucket to tie the game.
With the game tied, Monson made a coaching adjustment, switching to a 1-2-2 trap, which lead to easy layups by the senior Jones and sophomore Logan Carlson.
Jones would score 11 of St. James’s first 19 points.
With St. James in front 30-28 with just over 3:00 left in the half, the Saints would go on a 10-2 run to close the first 18 minutes.
Carlson scored eight straight points off the bench, including back-to-back threes to extend the lead to eight.
“They were great,” said Monson of Carlson and the younger Jones. “They’re up playing for a reason. We knew they bring energy and offense. It looked as though there were two Logan’s flying around tonight.”
Monson held off on commenting about Jones’s future role. Jones was limited to one half of action due to his play for the b-squad earlier in the evening.
Kobe Mohwinkel would hit a pull-up midrange jumper.
Despite St. James’ foul trouble, the Knights couldn’t take advantage, shooting just 9/18 from the free throw line in the first half. The Saints, however, shot 1/7 from the free throw line in the first half. The Saints aggressive defense led to 13 forced turnovers. With a double-digit lead heading into the break, the Saints put the game away with a 17-7 run to begin the second half.
“We have to be a little bit more patient,” said Monson. “Sometimes you’re going to be hot like that, but we also went cold at points. If you keep firing away like that you let your opponent get back into the game.”
Derrick Halvorson scored his first points of the game to get the half started. He would finish with 11.
A turnover led to an easy layup by Halvorson off a beautiful feed by Carlson from the baseline. Mohwinkel, Anderson and Carlson would all connect on threes in quick succession, putting the Saints ahead 57-37 in the blink of an eye.
Later in the half, Mohwinkel and Halvorson would continue to pour it on with back-to-back threes.
Wellcome-Memorial then slowed the by falling into a zone, and the Saints went almost five minutes without a basket.
The Saints kept up the defensive pressure, not allowing the Knights to get back into the game, and cruised to a 75-55 opening night victory.
Parker Jones led all scorers with 19 points, Kobe Mohwinkel, chipped in 15, Logan Carlson finished with 13.
The Saints forced 22 turnovers in the contest, showing strides defensively under Monson.
“I liked our defensive pressure at times, we just have to get smarter with it,” said Monson. “In the first half, the referees were calling hands-on, and we need to be smarter and take our hands off. It was ugly at times but I think we had a much better second half. We adjusted to the flow of the game.”
St. James hits the road and travels to Nicollet on Tuesday.