The St. James girls basketball team kicked off a busy week of basketball by hosting Francis Howell on Monday, Jan. 28. The Lady Tigers were able to grab a fourth quarter lead in the back and forth affair, but couldn't hold on in a 45-44 loss.

St. James had to fight all night long on Monday night, but Francis Howell was able to maintain a slim lead at the end of the first. Aly Bullock led St. James with four points in the opening quarter, while Riley Whitener knocked down a three in a 13-point first quarter. Howell used a pair of threes to lead 14-13 at the end of the first quarter.

The Lady Tigers then came out and played lockdown defense in the second quarter, holding Howell to just seven points in the quarter. St. James were able to go into the half with a lead thanks to five-point quarters from both Hannah Marcee and Ashlyn Rinehart. The Lady Tigers went into halftime of the low-scoring game with a 23-21 lead.

The script was flipped in the third, as Howell scored 13 points in the third thanks to eight points from Taylor Russell. Bullock carried St. James with eight points of her own, but the rest of the Lady Tigers managed just two more points, which gave Howell a 34-33 lead heading into the fourth.

St. James then got out to a great start in the fourth and led by as many as six points in the quarter. Unfortunately, the Lady Tigers hit a wall as the quarter went on. St. James lost starting point guard Savanna Riccetti to an ankle injury and missed a couple of chances at the free throw line late, as Howell charged back for a 45-44 win over the Lady Tigers. 

"We found every possible way to lose a game that we could. We missed free throws. We missed easy shots. We made turnovers. We missed defensive assignments. I coached poorly," said head coach Terry Wells. "It was just a perfect storm of how to give a game away the kids earned a right to win. It's okay though, our team has high character. We will learn from this and tomorrow will be a better day." 

Bullock led St. James with 12 points and eight rebounds in the loss, while adding a pair of steals. Marcee added 11 points and for rebounds, while Rinehart chipped in with nine points, five boards, a steal, a block and an assist. Whitener had four points. three rebounds, three steals and an assist. Riccetti had three points, four rebounds and a team-high five assists before leaving with her injury. 

St. James had no time to rest, as they turned right around for another game on Tuesday. They hosted West County in a replacement game after a previous game with Viburnum was cancelled at the beginning of the season. Results from that game were not available at press time. They will next host Pacific for a Four Rivers Conference game on Thursday.