PREP BOYS’ BASKETBALL: St. Mary’s downs determined CHS

NEW ULM – With the score tied at halftime, the New Ulm Cathedral home crowd was buzzing for a huge upset.

Unfortunately for the home crowd, Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s gained and maintained control in the second half to get a 78-65 road win.

St. Mary’s began the game red hot from the floor and went ahead 17-7 early on. From that point on the game was controlled on a slow pace by Cathedral, getting points from an assortment of players.

“We had to (slow it down),” said Cathedral coach Paul Hazuka. “If we could spend more time on offense, that’s good defense, and when we did spend time on offense we hit shots.”

Senior guards Ben Kittler and Jeff Osborne combined for 17 first-half points. The big lift was given by freshman Michael Skillings. Skillings drilled three 3-pointers and connected on a buzzer-beating floater to tie the game and send the Greyhounds to the locker room with a standing ovation.

“Michael is playing well,” Hazuka said. “He plays within himself, lets the game come to him and is able to knock down shots as he did tonight.”

Heading into the second half, the composure of St. Mary’s was set to be tested, and it was a good thing for the Knights that senior Sean Mathiowetz was ready to lead.

Mathiowetz was unable to get many good looks from the perimeter, but managed to make plays by finding teammates and getting to the basket.

“He affects the game because there is so much attention towards him,” St. Mary’s head coach Tim Milliard said. “He’s tough to guard man-on-man, so he’ll either get to the rim or find someone else. I thought he did a great job of decision making.”

Junior John Brandl was on the receiving end of a few sweet Mathiowetz passes and tallied 11 second-half points. Several other Knights stepped up in the second half to hit big shots, such as Payton Adams and David Surprenant, and Mike Hirsch.

“I was pleased with all the other guys – Jordan Anderson, Payton Adams, and Surprenant,” Milliard said. “They gave us a bit of a lift offensively.”

Cathedral still managed to stay in the game, never letting St. Mary’s run away with the game, but never taking the lead.

Sophomore Jacob Gangelhoff had a big second half, scoring 11 points and single-handedly keeping the Greyhounds in the game.

“Jacob is becoming a more consistent shooter as the year is going on, so I’m glad he was making shots, too,” Hazuka said.

In the end, Mathiowetz and the Knights were too much for Cathedral and iced the game at the free throw line to get the tough road win.

“It’s a good game for us,” Milliard said. “We’re going to play teams that want to play more half court, more physical, so this is a good kind of game for us.”

Mathiowetz finished with 19 points, while Brandl scored 16 and both Jordan Anderson and Kansas Adams scored 11.

Kittler led the way for Cathedral with 17 points, while Gangelhoff and Skillings finished with 13 points.

St. Mary’s improves to 17-3 (12-2) and will play in Fairfax against Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop on Friday. Cathedral drops to 3-16 (2-12) and will host Minnesota Vally Lutheran on Friday.

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