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Saints drop two against Fairmont and Luverne

Sean Ellertson
St. James Plaindealer

After two victories to open up their season, the St. James girls basketball team lost a pair last week to Big South Conference foes Fairmont and Luverne.

In the opening pair of wins, the Saints' offense was clicking on all cylinders. On Thursday night against Fairmont, the Cardinals held St. James to just 28 points in a 56-28 blowout win. 

The guests didn't record a field goal until Rayah Quiring hit a three with 13:30 remaining in the half to put Fairmont up 3-2 in a slow paced start.

Junior forward Jaelyn Haler played a big part in shutting down the Cardinals through the first five minutes, contesting shots at the rim and recording a pair of blocks.

"She works hard. She's perfected the block without fouling, she's really effective in that area," said head coach Steve Witcraft. "She really understands what they're trying to do against her and she does a nice job of taking that away."

Following a bucket by Taylor Sodeman, the Cardinals ripped off an 11-0 run to take a 14-4 lead, and never looked back.

A basket by Sodeman did cut the Cardinals' lead down to seven, but a 15-3 run by Fairmont over the final five minutes of the half gave the Cards a 29-10 lead into halftime.

"Defensively they play that matchup 2-3 zone and they've been working on it for two years so I think they're doing it much better," said Witcraft. "We hadn't seen any tape on them this year because it's their first game, so we'll be prepared and we'll run something differently next time we see them."

As the Cardinals defense continued to stiffen St. James' offense, senior guard Madysen Allen took over, scoring eight of her ten points in the second half, including a six-point burst to expand the Fairmont lead to 20.

Junior center Brittney Mosloski scored eight of her own down the stretch to put the final bow on the Saints. Cadee Becker also scored ten for Fairmont.

Sodeman led the Saints with eight points, and Haler had six. Kelsey Grunewald finished with four. Ellie Becker and Maddie Brey each had three. 

On Tuesday night, the lady Saints ventured to Luverne, and were upended by the Cards 52-42.

St. James fell behind 25-5 early on, and managed to trim the lead down to eight, but the early deficit was too much to overcome.

Addie Bowers led the Saints with 13 points off the bench. Sodeman finished with ten, and Haler had nine.

St. James (2-2) will look to get back in the win column on Saturday against St. Peter, followed by another home match against Windom on Monday.