The St. James girls basketball team (7-6) opened the California Tournament against Helias on Tuesday, Jan. 9. The Lady Tigers faced off against Helias earlier this season in the Sullivan Tournament, where the Lady Crusaders came away with a win. St. James put up a good fight on Tuesday, but couldn't overcome a slow start in a 46-39 loss.

The first quarter doomed Sthge Lady Tigers on Tuesday night, as they struggled to find their shot early on. St. James scored just four points in the first quarter and had to dig themselves out of a 10-4 hole. St. James started to get going offensively in the second, as Ashlynn Rinehart scored five points and Savanna Riccetti knocked down a three in an 11-point quarter. Helias stayed one step ahead however, scoring 12 points, six of which came from Ellie Rockers. The Lady Crusaders carried a 22-15 lead into the half. 

The Lady Tigers kept fighting in the second half, but Helias never let them close that gap. Bailey Wells and Alyssa Rinehart each hit threes in the third, as the Lady Tigers scored 12 points, but Helias stayed ahead of them with 14 points. Rockers scored six more points, while Erin Wyrick added six of her own in the frame to give the Lady Crusaders a 36-27 lead heading into the fourth. 

St. James won the fourth quarter, but it wasn't enough to close the 11 point gap. Ashlyn Rinehart and Riley Whitener each hit threes for St. James in another 12-point quarter, but Helias added 10 points to their total to hold onto a 46-39 win.

Ashlyn Rinehart led St. James with 12 points, while adding five rebounds and a steal. Mikaela Donnelly chipped in seven points and a rebound. Riccetti and Wells tied for the team-high in assists with three. Riccetti added four boards and six points, while Wells scored three points, pulled in two rebounds and had one steal.

"We competed much better than when we played this team a couple weeks ago," said head coach Terry Wells. "I'm proud of their effort."

St. James will move to the consolation bracket, where they'll play Fulton on Thursday, Jan. 11. Fulton lost to the top seed, California, 79-29 on Tuesday.