St. Mary’s impresses with efforts vs. highly-ranked Northwood teams

Facing powerful Northwood-Lena teams in the District 3-1A basketball openers Tuesday night, the St. Mary’s girls and boys squads were undaunted.

They were also not overmatched. Especially not playing in their own gym, but even the homecourt advantage wasn’t quite enough to produce an upset, or two.

The Lady Tigers had an excellent defensive performance, holding the state’s No. 1 Class A team to 37 points, but just couldn’t score consistently themselves in a 37-23 loss.

In the boys game, St. Mary’s took it down to the wire against the third-ranked Falcons. The Tigers cut the deficit to two points with 55 seconds left and had a chance to take the lead but Northwood forced a turnover. Fighting the clock, SMHS had to foul hoping to rally, and the visitors made their free throws to pull away for a 60-52 final score.

“Our girls were right there the whole game,” said coach Jake Bankston. “They played really tough and gave it all they had.

“The boys game was so neck-and-neck the whole 32 minutes and it came down to the final minute,” he said. “We played very well in both games against two of the best teams in the state.”

The Lady Tigers got 15 of their 23 points from Kelsee Bienvenu.

Mixon Bankston led the Tigers with 18 points while Ben Bienvenu added 16.

SMHS will head to Jonesville for a Friday night doubleheader at Block.