The St. James boys and girls basketball teams traveled to Owensville to play back to back games on Friday, Feb. 8. The Tigers were able to come away with a 71-71 win, while the Lady Tigers fell 52-44.

Tigers rout Dutchmen 

The Tigers got out to a great start on Friday night and never looked back in a run away win. St. James was happy to see the return of point guard Mason Parker in limited action and their offense showed some great life in the first half. The Tigers got first quarter threes from Tyler Recker, Andrew Branson and Drew Moritz to spark the offense. Branson led the way with nine points in the first, as the Tigers went off for 21 points in the quarter. Defensively, St. James held Owensville to just 13 points to get out to an early lead. 

While St. James played good defense in the first, they were near perfect in the second. The Dutchmen managed to score just three points in the quarter, as St. James put the game away for good. The offense exploded for another 25 points on the back of a quartet of threes. Branson scored another seven points in the quarter, while Recker, Austin Ridenhour and Logan Chick each added five. St. James was able to storm into the half with an insurmountable 46-16 lead. 

The Tigers maintained that lead in the second half thanks to another 20 points in the third quarter. St. James went into the final quarter with a 66-29 lead, so they were able to just run out the clock on a dominant 71-41 win. Branson led all scorers with 28 points, while Chick added another 12 and Recker chipped in with 10. Moritz scored six points, Ridenhour added five and Parker scored four in his return to action.

Slow first half buries Lady Tigers

The Lady Tigers didn't have the same luck as the boys, as a tough first half put St. James behind the eight ball. The Lady Tigers scored just five points in the game's opening quarter, which put them in an early 12-5 hole. Their offense picked up a bit in the second, scoring 13 points on the back of four points form Ashlyn Rinehart and a three from Riley Whitener, but they couldn't keep pace with 16 points from Owensville and went into the half trailing 28-18. 

St. James was able to close that gap in the third quarter thanks to solid play on both sides of the ball. Defensively, they held Owensville to 10 points, while the Lady Tiger offense continued to pick up speed. Hannah Marcee had an excellent third quarter with eight points, while Aly Bullock added another five. St. James was able to close the gap to 38-34 heading into the fourth, but they needed a couple of breaks to complete the comeback. 

The Lady Tigers needed Owensville to miss a few chances at the free throw line as they tried to close the gap, but the Lady Dutchmen were strong from the charity stripe. Owensville was 7-10 from the free throw line in the quarter and added another seven points from the field. St. James couldn't find the offensive push they needed late, falling 52-44. 

"We just had a very poor first half," said head coach Terry Wells. "We couldn't convert offensively and we missed a lot of defensive assignments. Our effort wasn't very good. I commend our kids for their fight in the second half. We had just a few possessions during key stretches when they had cut the lead to two points in which we made some bad turnovers that really cost us. The effort in the second half was really good though. This loss falls on me. I've got to do a better job of preparing my kids and getting them ready to play and execute the game plan." 

Marcee led St. James with 15 points and four rebounds in the loss. Bullock added 12 points, three rebounds and two steals. Rinehart had eight points to go with four boards and an assist. Mikaela Donnelly had three points, four boards and two steals, while Whitener added three points, three assists, two rebounds and a steal. Caily Sanders had two points, four rebounds and three assists filling in for the injured Savanna Riccetti.

The girls return to action at home against Sullivan on Monday, while the boys will host Sullivan on Tuesday.