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MASON CITY – The St. Ansgar girls basketball team put together a solid first half to the season that saw the Saints go into break with a 9-1 overall record.

On Friday, Jan. 4, St. Ansgar took Newman Catholic’s best shot and managed to edge away in the fourth quarter for a 61-54 win in Top of Iowa Conference East Division play.

“Give Newman credit, they played really well,” Saints coach Scott Cakerice said. “We need to be getting better each game. Come tournament time, we will see some really good teams.”

Newman, which is known largely for the three-point shooting, seemed to confuse the Saints early with an offense that attacked the basket.

After a back-and-forth first half, the Knights found themselves with a five-point lead midway through the third quarter before St. Ansgar went on a 10-0 run.

Both teams had their chances to take control in the final quarter as the Saints held a slim one-point advantage entering the final eight minutes and managed to build on that lead by scoring 12 of the game’s final 15 points as the Newman offense finally cooled off.

“I think that is the best we have played this season,” Newman coach Mike Schutt said. “We were doing a good job getting to the basket.”

Hali Anderson scored 11 points in the third quarter and finished with 20 to lead St. Ansgar.

The sophomore guard entered the game averaging 17.5 points per game.

Brooklyn Hackbart added 15 and Jaydn Anderson had nine.

Kailah Thompson paced Newman with 19 points, including 10 in the third quarter.

Keelan Curley had 12 for the Knights despite being hampered by foul trouble in the fourth quarter.

The Saints (11-1) travel to Central Springs (4-6) on Tuesday, Jan. 8.

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