Maverick basketball team fends off Saints by 2

CLEAN BLOCK — Martin County West’s Karlee Thiesse (right) cleanly blocks a shot by St. James Area’s Kelsey Grunewald during nonconference basketball action Monday night in Trimont. Martin County West’s Marissa Whitehead (3) helps out on the play while Maverick teammate Alyssa Williamson looks on. (Photo by Greg Abel)

TRIMONT — The lid on the rim stayed tight.

The Martin County West Mavericks beat the St. James Area Saints 40-38 in non-league girls basketball action Monday night in Trimont.

The teams combined to shoot 29 of 83 from the field for 35 percent.

The score remained tied at zero for the first three minutes of action before St. James Area’s Renata Hernandez scored the game’s first points on a long 3 off an assist from Chloe Mickelson.

The Mavericks’ first points came when Alyssa Williamson collected the first of her four steals and dished out the first of her four assists to Marissa Whitehead with 13:48 left in the first half.

On MCW’s next possession, Karlee Thiesse netted her first basket on the night for two of her co-game-leading 15 points off a Cheyenne Owens assist.

The teams traded points until Williamson splashed a 3 off a pass from Thiesse with eight minutes left in the first half to give MCW the lead it wouldn’t give up.

The Mavericks used a 10-5 run after Williamson’s shot to go into halftime up 21-14. Thiesse grabbed four steals and dropped eight points in the first half to help the Mavericks, while St. James Area had eight turnovers.

Maverick head coach Rodger Taylor said his team allowed St. James Area to stay in the game and the Saints did a good job of fighting back.

“I think we came out flat,” Taylor said. “We continued to give them (Saints) hope. I give St. James a lot of credit, they continued to get after it and they made us work for everything. We had some good breaks and the girls persevered. I’ll take an ugly win, it counts the same as any win. I give St. James a lot of credit tonight.”

The Mavericks scored five consecutive points to open the second half when Samantha Meyer used a Thiesse assist for 2 and Owens used a Thiesse assist to score a traditional three-point play.

The Saints’ Mickelson led St. James Area’s comeback attempt. Mickelson made three consecutive 3s — all off assists from Hernandez — to get the Saints back in the game and make the score 27-24.

With 14:27 left in the matchup, the Mavericks’ Owens had to be helped off the floor after spraining her right ankle. She would not return.

Taylor said Owens might be ready for MCW’s game tonight, but he doesn’t want to rush her back on the court.

“Cheyenne has an ankle sprain,” Taylor said. “Those are tricky, but she’s a tough cookie. We’ll see, but we don’t want to push her along because it’s a long season. If she’s ready tomorrow and the trainer gives the OK, we’ll put her on, but if not, we’ll just wait until we get a good heal.”

The teams traded free throws, Whitehead drained a 3 off a Madison Klima assist and Thiesse scored off an assist from Whitehead to extend the Mavericks’ lead to 34-25 with 11 minutes remaining.

The Saints’ Kaydi Anderson helped lead the comeback this time. Anderson scored six consecutive points on three shorts jumpers off assists from Hernandez and Ellie Becker to make the score 37-33, then Hernandez dropped in two more to bring the Saints within two.

Each team made one of two free throws the rest of the way and MCW controlled the ball for most of the final three minutes. Thiesse scored two points with 15 seconds left in the matchup for needed insurance before Anderson scored two and the Saints called a timeout with 0:00.1 remaining in the game.

The Mavericks successfully inbounded the ball and the Saints’ comeback was ended.

Taylor said his team kept its composure to stave off the comeback.

“We didn’t really respond to them,” Taylor said. “But we kept our composure enough. Then, when we were able to get them to go to man defense, that worked just right for us to run the clock and get that last basket that ended up being pretty crucial.”

Martin County West (6-4, 3-0 Valley) plays host to Granada-Huntley-East Chain/Truman/Martin Luther tonight at 7:15 p.m.

St. James Area (3-7, 0-4 Big South) hosts Blue Earth Area at 7:15 p.m. Thursday.

SJA 14-24–38

MCW 21-19–40

MCW (40)

Thiesse 7-11 1-2 15, Whitehead 2-4 2-2 7, Revland 2-4 2-6 6, Williamson 2-15 0-0 5, Owens 2-8 1-3 5, Meyer 1-3 0-0 2, Klima 0-3 0-0 0. Totals: 16-48 6-13 40.

SJA (38)

Mickelson 5-13 1-2 15, Anderson 6-10 3-10 15, Hernandez 2-6 0-0 5, Haler 0-3 2-2 2, Grunewald 0-1 1-2 1, Becker 0-1 0-0 0, Sodeman 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 13-35 7-16 38.

3-pointers: MCW 2-11; SJA 5-14 (Mickelson 4-10). Rebounds: MCW 21 (Thiesse 4, Williamson 4, Revland 4); SJA 26 (Anderson 9, Haler 7). Assists: MCW 14 (Thiesse 4, Williamson 4). SJA 9 (Hernandez 6). Steals: MCW 15 (Thiesse 4, Williamson 4, Klima 3). SJA 7 (Hernandez 5). Blocks: MCW 3; SJA 2.