St. James continued their string of authoritative play, winning by double figures for the fourth straight game with a beatdown of Madelia, 72-48.
Fueled by seniors Parker Jones and Kobe Mohwinkel, the Saints roared out to a 15-6 lead early in the first half.
Defensively, the Saints started out in a full-court man-to-man defense, but quickly shifted into a half-court trap.
“We weren’t playing defense,” said coach Monson. “It was ugly the whole first half. I don’t think it was a great effort by our team. We just went to something that we thought we could get a stop in. As the game went on it did get a little better.”
Madelia defensively also came out with a pressure defense, looking to prevent St. James from getting into a rhythm offensively.
“It was something we weren’t expecting,” said Monson. “We did fine with the pressure. It wasn’t something I was worried about. When you have someone like Parker [Jones] he’s going to take care of the ball.”
Back-to-back baskets by Ramiro Zamora trimmed the lead to 15-10.
Derrick Halvorson and Jones would push the lead to nine again, but the Blackhawks would answer with an 8-0 run, courtesy of five straight points from Logan Anderson and a deep three by freshman Ja’Sean Glover to cut the lead to 19-18.
That’s as close as Madelia would get for the rest of the night, as the Saints pushed the lead to double figures by the end of the half, and took a 35-23 lead into the break.
Early in the second half, the Saints would quickly start to pull away behind buckets from Mohwinkel, Derrick Halvorson, Jones, Logan Carlson, Lucas Doll and Hayden Jones. Five straight points from Mohwinkel would increase the lead to 54-31, as Madelia continued to have trouble with the Saints’ pressure.
Even with the lead above over 20, the Saints never eased up and continued to pour it on in the final minutes.
Parker Jones led all scorers with 17 points. Kobe Mohwinkel scored 13, including a trio of three-pointers. Derrick Halvorson also scored in double figures, finishing with 11. Hayden Jones and Jadon Malmgren-Diaz were productive off the bench, scoring eight and six points, respectively.
Ja’Sean Glover led the Blackhawks in scoring with 12. Lucas Anderson scored 10 in the loss.
The Saints will play the Rockford Rockets in the Holiday Tournament final. Rockford is led by senior guard Nick Manthana and seven-footer Calvin Sisk.
Rockford took care of New Ulm 62-25 on Thursday.
“We have to box them out,” said Monson. “I haven’t decided yet what we’re going to do defensively yet, whether it be man or zone.”
When asked about how to prepare against a seven-footer in less than 24 hours Monson said simply “If you have any ideas, let me know.”
Tip-off for the Holiday Tournament final is at 4:15.