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Draper, Russ propel Saints

February 05, 2009|By TIM KOELBLE

SAINT JAMES -- Mike Russ turned in a big first half and ended with a double-double, but he was the first person to deflect talk toward one of his teammates after St. James defeated Heritage Academy 69-50 on Thursday night in Alumni Hall.

The 6-foot-1 senior scored 20 in the first half and finished with 24 points and 10 rebounds, then praised Spencer Draper.

"Spencer, he's the best point guard," said Russ. "He is so unselfish. He knows when to pass or to turn something into a score himself."

Draper finished with 15 points and set up scores with seven assists, most going to Russ when he went to the lane. Draper also had seven steals and produced eight rebounds.

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"His performance was par for the course. That's what he has done for three years," said St. James coach Mike Brooks. "(Spencer) is so selfless and does so much for the team."

When Russ wasn't canning 3-pointers -- he had three in the first half -- he was busy scoring off of Draper's assists inside.

Russ had 12 points in the first quarter as the Saints (9-9) opened up an 18-12 lead, then added another eight in the second when the Saints took a 35-25 lead to the locker room.

Brooks called a time out early in the first quarter after a Travis Barthalow bucket put Heritage on top, 9-7.

"We weren't executing at either end of the floor and I wasn't going to allow (Heritage) to beat us at their game," said Brooks.

Draper and Grant McWilliams scored back-to-back to put the Saints ahead 11-9, but Andrew Hendershot drained the first of his five 3-pointers to give Heritage a 12-11 advantage.

The Saints went on a 15-2 run that included two straight conventional three-point plays from Draper and Russ for a 26-14 lead with 4:53 left in the first half.

Heritage (14-4) cut the deficit to 45-40 in the third period on a deuce from Barthalow and a 3-pointer from Hendershot, but Jordan Barr scored six points as the Saints responded with an 11-2 run to seal the win.

"We wanted to keep Russ shooting on the outside but that doesn't always work," said Heritage coach Mike Kidd. "We didn't have an answer for him. We just don't have the inside bulk."

The Saints shot 50 percent in the first half and ended at 46 (28 for 61). Barr was St. James' third player in double figures with 10.

Hendershot led the Eagles with 16 points and Barthalow had 14.

St. James 69, Heritage 50
HERITAGE ACADEMY (14-4)

Hendershot 16, Harrell 6,, Barthalow 14, Clark 7, Martin 5, Long 2. Totals 19 7-15 50.
ST. JAMES (10-9)
Barr 10, Draper 15, Dunbar 7, Russ 24, Zimmerman 4, McWilliams 4, Smith 1, Magassouba 4. Totals 28 10-15 69.
Heritage 12 13 17 8 -- 50
St. James 18 17 16 18 -- 69

3-point goals -- Heritage 5 (Hendershot 5, Clark); St. James 3 (Russ 3).

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