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Friday, December 28th, 2007

Hot shooting makes up for St. Marys miscues

By Mark Ruschau

St. Henry's Heather Rammel, 42, shoots over St. Marys' Emily Shellabarger, right. . .

ST. MARYS - The St. Marys Roughriders girls basketball team continued their recent surge Thursday night at McBroom Gymnasium as they used a great shooting effort, especially in the first half, to defeat the St. Henry Redskins 50-42 in non-league action.
St. Marys, winner of three in a row, improves to 6-3 overall while St. Henry falls to 0-7.
For the night, the Roughriders hit on 16-of-31 shots from the floor for 52 percent. In the first half, St. Marys made good on 10-of-18 which allowed the Roughriders to jump out to a 29-21 lead at the half.
Lea Mackenbach led the way for St. Marys with 12 points. Kori Howell chipped in 12, seven in the first quarter and Erika Thornsberry added 10.
"Their big people really hurt us, especially in the first half, no question about it," said St. Henry assistant coach Jeff Roessner. "Actually when I scouted them early in the season, the Howell girl did not start, they started both Thornsberry girls and Shellabarger, so they were bigger yet and they looked high low and they really hurt us. Give them credit, though, when it came time to win the game they hit shots when they needed to."
The big problem offensively for the Roughriders on this night was turnovers as they committed 31 mistakes, 19 in the second half.
"We kept our turnovers under 50 and I guess that is a plus but it was still a problem," said St. Marys coach Tim Niekamp. "It was horrible again. We turned the ball over at all spots on the floor, but hopefully that is something we can grow out of.
"When they pressure the ball like that, it's a double-edged sword, you are going to have turnovers but you are also going to get some easy baskets," continued Niekamp. "You don't get points by just turning the ball, you still have to put it in the basket. I was looking at our team stats this morning and we are shooting right at 50 percent while our opponents are shooting right at 23 percent. I don't know if we are that much better shooters then the other team so the kids are getting much better shots, but ideally we need to cut down our turnovers so we can get more possessions."
On the other side of the court, the problems on the offensive end were just the opposite for St. Henry. The Redskins handled the ball reasonably well turning the ball over just 15 times, but they did not shoot the ball very well as they hit on 12-of-53 shots from the floor.
St. Marys was able to build its lead to 42-28 after three as the Roughriders scored eight points on their last three possessions of the period on two Erika Thornsberry free throws and back-to-back threes by Katie Burke and Mackenbach.
"I thought there were a couple of key points in the game," said Niekamp. "One was at the beginning of the game when we jumped out to the lead and then we treaded water a little. Then right at the end of the third period, Burke hits a big three, Lea follows right up with another three and that was a big point in the game."
St. Henry was led by Brooke Mattingly with a game-high 19 and she also added 10 rebounds.
St. Henry is back in action Saturday at Wapakoneta while St. Marys will also play on Saturday on the road at Kalida.
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