Lady Knights claim share of Mississippi 8 title

STMA’s Rae Johnson gets caught in a crowd of Buffalo defenders. (Photo by Jake Schroer)

STMA’s Rae Johnson gets caught in a crowd of Buffalo defenders. (Photo by Jake Schroer)

By Jake Schroer

Crow River News Sports

 

The Lady Knights basketball team earned a season sweep over conference rival Buffalo and held off Duluth East for a victory.

STMA and Buffalo got off to cold starts in their game, with the score standing at 10-7 with eight minutes remaining in the first half. In those final minutes, the Knights went on a 21-9 run to lead 31-16 at halftime.

The Knights pressured Buffalo again in the second half, holding the Bison to just 19 points.  Offensively, the Knights heated up in the second half. Rae Johnson scored 12 points shooting 80% from behind the arc. Bobbi Brendefur led the ladies with 14 points and Erin Autio hauled in 11 rebounds.

Coming off the bench, Josie Burns provided a spark with six points and five rebounds. She said her recent success comes from hard work and encouragement.

“We all push each other super hard in practice, and I know my teammates have been pushing me and I’ve been pushing them, so we just make each other better, I think.”

Defensively, the Knights forced Buffalo into turning the ball over 20 times in a 69-35 victory.

Coach Hamre said his team did a good job taking care of business in the second half.

“We got off to a bit of a slow start, and once we settled down and let our defense take over, we were able to convert on some easy baskets.”

Hamre also acknowledged the fact that his team had been perfect since the loss to St. Cloud Tech.

“I never will say a loss is good, but you know what? If we learn from it and get better, then it wasn’t such a bad loss.”

 

KNIGHTS TOP 

DULUTH EAST 

On a night when STMA honored parents and the family of the late Cowboy Larry, the Knights responded with another win.

STMA (17-4) got out to an early 15-2 lead. Once again, aggressive defense led the way as the Knights went on an 11 point run late in the half to build a 37-8 lead at the intermission. At halftime, the STMA Stallions, a Special Olympics team from the area, entertained the crowd with some of its skills.

In the second half, the Knights struggled with their shooting. Despite the performance, the team hung on for a 54-36 victory.

Coach Hamre said his team was fortunate to hold off East in the second half.

“The first half, everything was going our way and the second half, nothing went our way. We need to really shore that up before playoffs and make sure we can stay focused for the full 36 minutes of basketball.”

The Knights faced Rogers in a road game Tuesday. They take on Monticello on the road Thursday and finish the regular season next Monday at home against Big Lake. As we went to press, the Knights were just three wins away from 20; a perennial Hamre goal.

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