If you’re a girls basketball team in North Iowa and you’ve got St. Ansgar coming up on the schedule, get ready for a test down under the hoop.

That’s where 6-foot-1 center Elizabeth Jenkins roams for the Saints, and she’s been one of the Saints’ leaders since she was a freshman.

On Friday night against Newman, Jenkins’ size helped the Saints rally and hang on for a 54-53 win over the Knights.

“It’s tough but you’ve got to keep battling through,” Jenkins said of being the target of every team’s game plan.

The way Friday’s game started had the Knights thinking they may run away with a win.

Behind 10 points from McKenzie Sullivan, Newman built up a 22-7 lead after one quarter, but then it went cold from the field.

That combined with the play of Jenkins on both ends of the court were the perfect recipe for St. Ansgar.

Jenkins scored 11 of her game-high 23 points in the second quarter as St. Ansgar rallied to take a 29-28 lead over Newman into the break.

Both teams struggled through a slow third quarter, and then St. Ansgar used a 10-0 run to start the fourth to go up 44-36. Newman wasn’t about to go down, though.

The Knights had a rally of their own to tie the game at 50-50, but St. Ansgar made the plays in the closing minute to steal the win.

“The fight in the fourth quarter was awesome,” Newman coach Mike Schutt said. “We got down eight points and came all the way back and had a couple of chances at the end, but just couldn’t cash them in. The girls did not give up.”

Jenkins added five blocks to go along with her 23 points. Hali Anderson chipped in 11 points and Molly Jenkins had nine.

“It was very nerve-wracking, but we really wanted it so we came back and got it,” Elizabeth Jenkins said of the win.

Sullivan finished with 19 points to lead Newman and Maria Determan added eight.

​Reach sports reporter Leah Vann at 641-421-0526.

Follow her on twitter at @GG_LeahVann

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