Two days after a tough loss to St. Mary’s, the Legacy Sabers bounced back in a big way.
Legacy shrugged off a slow start and pulled away in the second half for a 67-46 victory over Jamestown on Thursday night at the Legacy gym. The win gave the Sabers their first West Region victory of the season and gave them some confidence heading into the Christmas break.
“It feels really good, especially after Tuesday,” Sabers coach Jim Petrik said. “We sat down as a team Wednesday, kind of put things on the board and just said, we’re better than this and the girls really responded tonight. We had a slow start, but we came out of the gates once we found our rhythm we kept the pressure on.”
The Sabers completed a sweep when the Legacy boys picked up a 60-48 victory over the Blue Jays in the late game.
Jamestown got off to an early 11-6 lead, but a defensive change helped turn things around for the Sabers.
“We started in a halfcourt man-to-man defense and we switched it to a fullcourt,” Sabers coach Jim Petrik said. “We challenged our girls to get to the paint to find our points tonight, we kind of put our heads down and got to the rim, got some post touches but I think switching to the fullcourt defense just kind of sparked us.”
Jaelyn Two Hearts scored seven points in a 13-2 Legacy run late in the first half that turned a 16-14 Blue Jay lead into a 27-18 Legacy advantage. Two Hearts finished with 11 points for the Sabers.
She scored on a drive to the basket, a 3-pointer and a putback during the burst.
“We kind of got on Jaelyn early in the game, challenged her with her defense but she’s such a good offensive player. She brings so much to the table,” Petrik said. “For a new kid in the system, she’s done so much for us already and she was our spark in the first half.”
Jamestown pulled within six (31-25) early in the second half on a 3-pointer and a pair of free throw by Megan Gaffaney – who finished with 10 points for the Blue Jays.
But Legacy responded with a 13-0 burst that built a 44-25 advantage, and led by as many as 26 (62-36) as the Sabers pulled away.
“I thought the second half was a total team effort. I thought we were the aggressive team and that kind of carried over for us,” Petrik said.
Ashley Hulm and Whitney Thomas scored 15 points apiece to pace Legacy (2-4, 1-2 West Region). The two combined for 19 in the second half, with Hulm scoring 10 and Thomas nine. Two Hearts had 11, Alexis Dressler 10 and Arianna Berryhill nine for the Sabers.
“It’s funny when you see a few go in, it builds confidence for your other players,” Petrik said. “We did an excellent job rebounding tonight. That’s something we’ve struggled with all year. We challenged them and I thought we had all of our boxouts we needed, we crashed the boards offensively, we tried to control that area and I thought we did tonight. And those little things are big things.”
Courtney Peterson led Jamestown (1-4, 0-4 West Region) with 15 points. Gaffaney and Kameron Selvig each added 10.
Legacy 60, Jamestown 48
A strong second half carried Legacy to its second straight victory.
Having built a 35-27 lead at the intermission, the Sabers went on a 9-4 run out of the break to build a 44-31 advantage and later used a 16-6 spurt to take a 20-point lead (57-37).
“We told the kids at halftime, the first five minutes is always key,” Legacy coach Jason Horner said. “Especially with an eight-point lead, if you can get that thing pushed over double digits you can kind of take their will a little bit. But if they make a run to start the second half, then you’re in a dogfight, so I though the kids responded fantastically.”
Legacy’s defense frustrated the Blue Jays much of the night.
“I thought we had a really consistent effort defensively and especially communicating on defense, which is something that’s been kind of a struggle for us since we’ve started this program,” Horner said. “So it was good to see, no matter what happened on the offensive side of the floor, that we were prepared and ready to pay defense, no matter what. We didn’t hang our heads, we didn’t let what just happened affect the defensive effort.”
Jason Hoekstra led the Sabers (2-4, 2-1 West Region) with 16 points. Rhett Clements added 11, Braxton Erhardt added 10 and Devin Beck nine.
“We have a bunch of capable shooters but the problem is we don’t have guys that can really create for themselves as much as some other teams, so we have to get each other open, we have to make good reads and attack when it’s time to attack and share the ball, and I thought we did a great job of that tonight,” Horner said.
Mason Walters posted a game-high 17 points to lead the Blue Jays (1-4, 1-3 West Region). Jared Kallenbach added 11 and Boden Skunberg eight for Jamestown.
After starting the season with three setbacks in Gillette, Wyo., and a loss to Mandan, Legacy heads into the Christmas break off a comeback win over St. Mary’s and a victory over Jamestown.
“We had a grind to start the year, down in Wyoming going 0-3 and then losing pretty handily to Mandan," Horner said. "The guys could have just probably hung it up but when you come back on Tuesday like we did, we were down 12 in the second half to St. Mary’s and ended up winning. That can just start a positive tide going into the second half of the season."