The Lady Tigers get a narrow 35-31 victory over the Kinsley Coyotes.

Seeing the look on their faces after the game, it looked as if there was going to be a Very, Merry Christmas for the St. John Lady Tigers basketball team as they came home with a 35-31 win over the Kinsley Coyotes in their last game of the year at Kinsley.

It certainly didn’t start out that way at the south end of the court. Except for two free throws by St. John-Hudson’s Tara Nelson, the basket must have been hidden. It wasn’t much better for the Coyotes either as the Coyotes collected six points in the first quarter.

Finally both teams woke up and offensively started playing some real basketball. Four Lady Tigers together scored 16 points. Defensibly the Lady Tigers held the Coyotes to 12, the score going into the half with things all tied up at 18-18.

In the quarter, St. John’s Torre Fisher made St. John’s first basket, a layup. Nelson canned St. John’s first 3-Pointer, and later made two free throws and two baskets. Paige Doran went 2/3 from the line. Erin Crissman nailed St. John’s second 3-Pointer.

Then Nelson took over in the third as she made her second three. Down by one 23-24 and less than a minute to go, Nelson made two free throws, giving the Tigers a 25-24 lead going into the fourth.

The Tigers built up a small lead 29-24 starting out - St. John’s points coming from a layup by Fisher, and another one by Bree Meyer.

With the Coyotes offense continuing to move the ball outside, and trying to find an open man inside, or going in for the layup, the Tigers five point lead closed. The Coyotes move ahead.

With 2:34 left on the clock, the Tigers led 32-29. A little over a minute left, the score 32-31. Missed shots by both teams kept the game close. The Tigers increased their lead 33-31 with 21 seconds left. St. John adds another point, and leads 35-31 with 9.4 seconds left.

The St. John Ladies get a 35-31 win over Kinsley.

“I was proud of our girls for playing hard and getting the win to head into Christmas break” said St. John head coach Danny Smith. “We defended very well, but kept the game close because of missed easy shots. We got the shots we wanted, but just need to convert. When we start converting plays, we will be a much tougher team to play.”

Smith continued saying, “Torre (Fisher) and Jackie (Rios) did a great job defensively on their two best scorers. Their leading scorer only had 5 points. Tara (Nelson) carried our load offensively. Some of her missed shots can probably be attributed to not getting much of a break during the game. Bree (Meyer) and Erin (Crissman) each hit a big 3 and Paige (Doran) had some great hustle plays and rebounds.”

“Christmas break is a nice time to be able to correct some errors and put in a few new things. Keeping the big picture in mind, I still like the direction we are headed.”