Intimidated Indians fall behind early, lose 65-38

Thursday, March 2, 2006

FARMINGTON, Mo. -- The Jackson girls basketball team appeared timid from the start of Wednesday's Class 5 sectional game at the Farmington Civic Center, and St. Louis powerhouse St. Joseph's Academy was ready to pounce.

The Angles, ranked No. 3 in the Class 5 state poll, rolled to a 23-3 first-quarter lead and routed the Indians 65-38.

"We were intimidated when we came up here," Jackson coach Sam Sides said. "We had a little fear in our hearts and you can't do that."

Things could not have started much worse for Jackson, as St. Joe's (24-5) scored the game's first eight points. Kylie Werner got the Indians on the board with 4:55 left in the period, but St. Joe's scored the next 10 points to go ahead 18-2.

St. Joe's leading scorer Mackenzie Stirmlinger scored the final eight points for the Angels in the first quarter, and fellow senior Kelsey Luna added eight in the period, including two 3-pointers.

The game actually began about 15 minutes after its scheduled 6:30 start. St. Joe's was delayed in traffic coming down from Frontenac, and Angels coach Julie Matheny said she was not sure how the delay would affect her team.

"I was a little worried because we were running a little late and the girls were doing a lot of homework and talking about homework," Matheny said. "I was happy after that first layin and Kelsey's 3 [which made the score 11-2]. I felt like everything was all right."

Jackson (22-5) narrowed the gap to 25-10 in the second on a 3-pointer from Andrea Barnes, but Luna answered with her third 3-pointer of the half. Jackson outscored St. Joe's 12-11 in the second quarter but still trailed 34-15 heading into the half.

"You get down that far, you get disenchanted easily, which makes it even harder to come back," Sides said.

Luna led the Angels with 13 points in the opening half and Stirmlinger had nine. Bobbie Jones led Jackson with five first-half points.

"They came out and I think they hit every shot they took, and we didn't hit nothing," Sides said. "That's not a good sign."

A comeback was not in the cards for Jackson, as St. Joe's increased its lead to 40-16 early in the third. The lead grew to 25 points before Jackson made its largest run of the game, a 6-0 spree to cut the lead to 45-26.

Jackson remained down 19 points after three quarters, and went the first 3:23 of the fourth without a basket. A little less than 2 minutes into the fourth, the Indians had a lineup of mostly reserves in the game as St. Joe's led 57-31.

Sides said he could see through some of the body language and play on the court that the game simply was out of reach.

"I saw things out there tonight I haven't seen all year," Sides said. "They [St. Joe's] went and got the loose balls. Very few times have we been out-hustled for a loose ball, but I saw that tonight."

St. Joe's continued to play many of its starters down to the stretch and pushed the lead over 30 points late, forcing a running clock over the final minute. Stirmlinger led the Angels with 22 points, including four 3-pointers, and Luna had 18 with four 3-pointers also.

"Mac and Kelsey, they can stroke it pretty well," Matheny said. "They're very confident shooters, as any good shooter should be."

The Angels will face Incarnate Word in the quarterfinals Saturday. Incarnate has handed St. Joe's two losses this season.

"We've got our hands full there," Matheny said.

Jones led the Indians with 10 points. Junior reserve Ashley Charboneau was next with seven points.

Despite not scoring, Sides said he was especially pleased with the play of senior Loni Littlepage, who just recently came back from a knee injury after missing nearly the entire regular season.

"She might have been my best defender there inside dragging a bad leg," Sides said. "I was happy for her. She got some good minutes and played well."

Jackson loses three seniors, including leading scorers Jones and Werner. The Indians won 89 games during the four years the three seniors were in the program.

"Right now, it's disappointing," Sides said of the loss. "Hopefully, when you look back on it -- we were conference champions, district champions, Farmington Invitational champions and Christmas tournament champions -- it was a good year."

St. Joseph's Academy 65, Jackson 38

St. Joseph's 23111615--65

JACKSON (38) -- Bobbie Jones 10, Ashley Charboneau 7, Kylie Werner 6, Amanda Peiffer 6, Gabrielle Garritano 3, Tara Kelley 3, Andrea Barnes 3. FG 15, FT 5-16, F 9 (3-pointers: Barnes 1, Kelley 1. Fouled out: none)

ST. JOSEPH'S (65) -- Mackenzie Stirmlinger 22, Kelsey Luna 18, Jenna Fernandez 8, Myrtie Reilly 6, Shannon Devlin 6, Becky Handley 3, Megan Grace 2. FG 26, FT 4-4, F 11 (3-pointers: Stirmlinger 4, Luna 4, Handley 1. Fouled out: none)

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