The Minnehaha Academy versus St. Peter girls basketball game Saturday provided a good preview of the playoff atmosphere the teams will face soon.

In front of a nearly full St. Peter gym, the Redhawks rallied to defeat the Saints 52-40.

“It’s fun playing in a playoff atmosphere,” St. Peter coach Bob Southworth said. “It’s a good opportunity for the girls. You’ve got to get used to that environment. Young girls haven’t been in that environment. It’s fun to watch the talent and play against it.”

Sarah Conlon led St. Peter with 16 points and three assists. She made 3 of 5 on 3-point shots and 5 of 6 free throws.

Morgan Kelly also hit double figures in scoring with 15 points, pulled down a team-high nine rebounds and blocked two shots.

But there was no stopping Minnehaha’s one-two punch of point guard Mia Curtis with 24 points and guard Kate Pryor with 20.

The Saints took an 18-9 lead with 6:18 remaining in the first half on a basket by Kelly, assisted by Conlon.

St. Peter still had a good lead, 23-15, with a minute left in the half after a 3-pointer by Kelly.

But the Redhawks scored the final six points to cut the lead to 23-21 at halftime.

St. Peter held the lead until midway through the second half.

Point guard Mia Curtis, who scored a game-high 24 points, scored a basket with 9:20 to play to give the Redhawks a 36-35 lead.

The Saints regained the lead 40-37 on a layup by guard Josie Wiebusch, a basket by Kelly and a free throw by Conlon.

But the Redhawks finished off the game on a 15-0 run to win 52-40.

“It was a hard-fought game both ways,” Southworth said. “The first half was tight all the way, and they second half was tight till about 5-6 minutes left.

“We didn’t handle their zone defense very well, and I don’t think we stayed as aggressive on offense against their zone. There were some driving opportunities that we didn’t take. We had them in the bonus with about 10 minutes to go in the half, and we didn’t take advantage of that. We only got two 1 and 1s in the last 10 minutes because we were not aggressive when we should have been.

“They’ve got a good defense. They’re athletic, and every shot is contested, and we didn’t shoot the ball well. Besides Sarah from 3-point range (3 of 5), the rest of them were 1 of 11. That’s under 10 percent. You aren’t going to win many games shooting that way.”

“We fouled them too much (15). There was 52 points and 20 of them were on free throws (20 of 24).

Minnehaha also beat the Saints in the first round of state Class AA last year.

The game featured a 35-second shot clock.

“It’s kind of fun because you can’t stall all the time,” Southworth said. “The nice part is you’re down 5-6 points you can still play zone defense because there is a shot clock.”

It won’t be used in the playoffs. It’s being tested.

Minnehaha 21 31 — 52

St. Peter 23 17 — 40

St. Peter 40 (Sarah Conlon 16, Morgan Kelly 15, Lilly Ruffin 4, Josie Wiebusch 2, Maddie Kamm 2, Emma Jones 1)

Rebounds 42 (Kelly 9, Rhyan Holmgren 7, Jones 6, Conlon 5, Wiebusch 4, Ruffin 3, Maddie More 1, Kamm 1, unassigned team 6)

Assists 8 (Conlon 3, Jones 2, Kelly 2, Wiebusch 1)

Steals 2 (Holmgren 1, Kelly 1)

Blocks 2 (Kelly 2)

FG 13-50 (26%)

3FG 4-16 (25%) Conlon 3-5, Kelly 1-3)

FT 10-13 (77%)

St. Peter Herald Sports Editor covers St. Peter, Cleveland, Le Center, Le Sueur-Henderson and Tri-City United and Gustavus Adolphus College. Fishing, tennis and golf enthusiast

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