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Saints finally take bite of Apple Valley

February 03, 2005|by JACK HILL III/Staff Correspondent

ST. JAMES - The St. James Saints came out on top of a defensive battle with the St. Maria Goretti Gaels on Wednesday afternoon, pulling out a 42-30 victory in an Apple Valley League girls basketball game.

It was the first win in Apple Valley League play for St. James (5-15, 1-8).

"These girls have really stepped up their level," St. James coach Amy Poffenbarger said. "You have seen a different aggressiveness and a will to win. They have got the attitude that they are going to play good defense, because they know that is going to get their offense going. Our focus every day is defense."

The Saints controlled the boards, limiting the Gaels to just one shot numerous times.

St. James eighth-grader Fatimah Jefferson, a 5-foot-9 reserve post player, scored a game-high 11 points for the Saints. Allie Beck, a 6-foot freshman center, had eight rebounds and three blocked shots for the Saints, while Heather Lowery pulled down nine rebounds, Hannah Palin grabbed six rebounds and Sarah Morgan and Lowery made three steals each in the victory.

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Freshman forward Carissa Grove scored nine points and center Sarah Spierenburg hauled in seven rebounds for Goretti (7-16, 1-5).

"We knew what we had to do to stop Goretti," Poffenbarger said. "Our goals were to stop Sarah Spierenburg on the inside and Tasha Deneen on the outside. If we could do that, then we knew that we could put enough points on the board to come out on top."

Poffenbarger said her players have gradually shown more desire and hustle as the season has progressed.

"Our players seem to get upset with losing," she said. "The fight is back in them. You can see in their hearts that they have got the determination to win basketball games."

The last time that Goretti held the lead was at 13-12 with 15 seconds remaining in the second quarter when Grove made the first of her two foul shots.

However, Jefferson scored on a layup with five seconds to go in the first half to put St. James on top for good with a 14-13 halftime lead.

The Saints outscored the Gaels 16-4 during the third quarter to pull away.

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