Waterville-Elysian-Morristown Upset by St. Peter in Finals
Having already eliminated then-unbeaten and top-seed Medford, St. Peter knocked out the No. 2 seed Waterville-Elysian-Morristown Tuesday night in the girls basketball 2AA South Subsection championship 52-47. The Buccaneers end their season at 21-6.
WEM coach Tyler Kaus knew it would be a tough game against a great defensive team. In the KDHL pregame interview, he pointed out that St. Peter had won eight of their last ten games, saying they had graduated heavily off last year's team and it took them a little time for their young players to gain experience.
Playing in the unfamiliar environment of Bresnan Arena, and against swarming defenses for each team, the game remained 0-0 for three-and-a-half minutes. St. Peter scored the first basket of the game for a 2-0 lead. WEM's Toryn Richards hit a three shortly after that, but it would be the only lead of the game for the Bucs.
St. Peter (15-10) went on a 7-0 run to lead 9-2 and Waterville-Elysian-Morristown struggled shooting all night. The Bucs were roughly 2-for-9 on three-pointers in the first half and were just 6-for-25, unofficially, before halftime. WEM dominated on the boards in the first half to stay close and Brielle Bartelt hit a three with two seconds to go to pull WEM within 19-14 at the break.
Saints coach Bob Southworth had predicted a "defensive slugfest," and he seemed to have nailed it. WEM turned up the pressure in the second half, leading to some steals but also quite a few fouls. St. Peter went 16-for-20 at the free throw line in the second half after hitting 5-of-6 in the first half.
WEM's steals led to extra shots but they still struggled sinking them. The Buccaneers did start to hit a few three's. Shelby Hermel had three three's and 11 points in the second half. Richards added a couple of triples in the second half and led her team with 17 points. Bartelt hit two more treys and scored 13 for the game.
The Bucs missed several close shots in the second, but trimmed a 46-36 deficit down to three points twice. St. Peter had an answer each time, mostly going through their two 5-foot-10 players. Junior Sarah Conlon and sophomore Morgan Kelly each scored 18 points and were a combined 11-for-12 from the charity stripe in the second half.
Seven seniors on the Bucs' roster include Hermel, Alexis Morsching, MaeLea Harmon, Morgan Nusbaum, Lisa Saemrow, Makayla Paulson and Paige Pittman. WEM players got second place medals and a trophy for the subsection runner-up finish.
The Saints will be back on the Bresnan Arena floor at Taylor Center at Minnesota State University-Mankato for the section title game against Jordan Friday night at 8 pm. The Jaguars eliminated top-seed Norwood-Young America in the North Subsection final Tuesday.