Coming off a stunner of a victory against St. Clair on Tuesday, the St. James Area girls basketball team looked to build off the late heroics into another win on Thursday against Fairmont.
The Saints trailed 20-17 with 5:15 left in the first half, but a 13-3 run by the Cardinals to close the half had the Saints down 13 heading into the locker room.
Earlier in the season, St. James mounted a 16-point comeback against Fairmont, but another miraculous comeback was not in the cards.
A 10-0 run, behind eight points from Cadee Becker, quickly pushed the lead to 23 before a score from Jaelyn Haler snapped the run.
The Cardinals kept up their defensive pressure for most of the second half, seeing their lead swell to as large as 32 before calling off the dogs.
"They were doubling us and they took us out of what we wanted to do," said head coach Steve Witcraft. "We didn't expect them to that quite as effectively as they did. We really struggled with it and they're really quick. They turned us over a lot of times and got easy layups. It's tough to play defense when they're getting layups every time."
Fairmont forced 19 turnovers in the second half alone and had 34 for the game.
Becker led all scorers with 20 points, pacing Fairmont to a 69-39 win.
On Saturday night, the girls watched a slim halftime lead turn into a 65-54 win in favor of Jackson County Central, as the Huskies buried a trio of three-pointers late in the game to fend off the visiting Saints.
Down by just two late in the second half, JCC buried a three to push their lead to 54-49, and that would be enough to hold off the Saints, who couldn't manage to get any closer.
Turnovers once again played a key factor as Witcraft's team turned the ball over 28 times.
Jaelyn Haler had her best game to date, scoring ten points, hauling in 18 rebounds, dishing out six assists, and recording three blocks.
Kaydi Anderson finished with 19 and 12. Chloe Mickelson had nine and six, along with three assists. Taylor Sodeman scored seven, while Addie Bowers, Torri Mohwinkel and Kelsey Grunewald all finished with three points.
On Tuesday night, Brooklyn Ver Steeg and Averil Sehr combined for 45 points as the Luverne Cardinals put up 80 points en route to a 19-point victory.
Luverne exploded out of the gates to a 10-0 lead as Ver Steeg and Elizabeth Wagner each scored five before Chloe Mickelson buried a three to get the Saints on the board.
A 7-0 run by Luverne tacked on to the lead.
Later in the half down 24-8, the Saint offense finally came to life. Ellie Becker and Chloe Mickelson connected on threes and Kaydi Anderson added a pair, and the lead was cut to eight.
Another Becker three late in the half had the lead down to four. Baskets by Taylor Sodeman and Torri Mohwinkel had the Saints down by just two. Luverne answered with two scores in the final minutes to take a 33-27 lead into the locker room.
In the second half, Luverne pushed their lead into double figures, securing their 13th win of the season.
Anderson paced St. James with 13 points. Sodeman scored 11. Mohwinkel, Addie Bowers, Mickelson, and Becker all scored six apiece.
With the three losses, St. James is now 9-11.