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Lady Saints push winning streak to three games with wins over New Ulm and B.O.L.D.

Sean Ellertson
St. James Plaindealer

Last week, the St. James Area girls basketball team picked up a pair of wins, including a tight in-conference battle with New Ulm, to get above .500, and push their record to 5-3.

On Friday, the Saints beat the Eagles for the second time this season, taking care of New Ulm in tight 61-59 fashion. 

Taylor Sodeman tallied 20 points to pace the Saints. She also hauled in 11 rebounds. Jaelyn Haler scored 14 points and had 12 rebounds.

St. James led by five with 30 seconds remaining, but New Ulm cut the lead to one. Ellie Becker sank 1/2 from the line, and a last-second shot by the Eagles missed, and the Saints escaped with the win.

The Saints defeated the Eagles 76-71 in the season opener.

On Monday, St. James returned home to the Event Center and dispatched the B.O.L.D. Warriors 54-45.

Right from the opening jump, both offenses played with pace and were able to get clean looks. Mari Ryberg scored seven of the first nine points for the Warriors in the opening minutes. Ryberg scored all 12 of her points in the first half.

Up 14-13 with 11:00 in the first half, Addie Bowers connected on a three to give the Saints a four-point lead. Over the next four minutes, buckets from Maddie Brey, Sodeman, Haler, and Kelsey Grunewald helped pushed the lead up to ten. 

FIve quick points from eighth-grader Lainey Braulick cut the 28-18 lead to 28-23, and the Saints found themselves up 31-23 heading into the half.

"I thought we finally shot the three pretty well. I thought Chloe [Mickelson], Taylor, and Addie all got good looks from three," said head coach Steve Witcraft. "That really helped us open it up. Then we started going inside and Jaelyn did really well inside."

Mickelson, Sodeman, and Haler opened the second half with baskets, expanding the St. James lead up to 14 in the opening minutes.

By the 8:30 mark, the Saints' lead had been reduced to just six after a Leslie Snow triple. The battle-tested answered with another punch of their own, as a Mickelson three had the Saints up 13 late.

"We haven't needed her to shoot in volumes like we have in the past," said Witcraft of Mickelson. "Her threes will come. She had some good looks tonight."

Mickelson finished with ten points and cashed a pair of threes. 

One final push by Snow and the Warriors was thwarted, and St. James held on for its fifth win of the year.

Haler continued her breakout junior campaign with a game-high 17 points.

"I think she's just looking for her shot and looking to drive to the basket and get fouled."

Braulick led the Warriors with 13 points.

Sodeman pitched in 12 for St. James, while Bowers finished with five.