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Yellowjacket hoop teams suffer season-opening losses

University of Wisconsin-Superior’s Justine Larson (15) gets fouled as she puts up a shot in the second half of Tuesday’s loss to St. Benedict in Mertz Mortorelli Gymnasium. (Jed Carlson / / 2
University of Wisconsin-Superior’s Montroy Scott (5) gets up a shot in the first half of the Yellowjackets’ loss to St. John’s Tuesday night at Mertz Mortorelli Gymnasium. (Jed Carlson / / 2

The University of Wisconsin-Superior basketball teams opened the season with nonconference losses Tuesday night at Mertz Mortorelli Gym.

The evening began with the St. Benedict Blazers rallying past the Yellowjacket women 54-53, and the night ended with the UWS men falling to St. John’s 89-79.

Women’s game

The Yellowjackets got the start they wanted, leading by as many as 11 points late in the first quarter and by 13 points twice midway through the second.

The Blazers took their first lead at 31-30 on a Kate Banovetz basket with 3:25 left in the third quarter.

The remainder of the third quarter saw five lead changes and ended tied 38-38 on a Chelsey Guetter free throw.

The game was also tied at 40 and 43 in the fourth quarter until St. Ben’s took the lead for good, 45-43, on another basket by Banovetz.

UWS managed to get within a single point four times down the stretch, including when Eva Reinertsen nailed her fourth 3-pointer of the game at the final buzzer.

“They were able to get the ball inside on us, and we turned the ball over too many times,” UWS coach Don Mulhern said. “They’re a smart team and they were able to take advantage of our mistakes. That’s the way it goes in basketball.”

Reinertsen, a freshman from Duluth Denfeld, led UWS in scoring with 12 points on four 3-pointers. Amelia Leger was next with nine points, and Hailey Kontny and Hannah Norlin both had eight. Leger also had four assists and Megan Aho came up with three steals.

Three different players reached double figures for St. Ben’s led by Guetter who scored 11 and grabbed a game-high eight rebounds.

After neither team scored in the opening 2:25 of the first quarter, UWS took a 4-0 lead on baskets by Kontny and Brittany Laehn.

Superior opened up a 15-4 lead when Leger converted a three-point play.

The second quarter started with an Alison Newton 3-pointer for St. Ben’s, but UWS followed with six straight points for a 22-9 lead.

After the teams traded baskets for a 24-11 UWS lead, St. Ben’s scored seven straight points and got within 24-18 on a Sidney Schiffler 3-pointer.

Leger stopped the Blazer run with a back-door layup, but Newton’s 3-pointer cut Superior’s lead to 26-21 at the half.

UWS maintained a five-point lead for the opening two minutes of the third quarter, but that’s when St. Ben’s went on a 7-0 run to take a 32-30 lead with 4:45 on the clock.

The rest of the third quarter saw five lead changes and ended tied 38-38 thanks to a Guetter free throw with 4.9 seconds showing.

The Yellowjackets play at Augsburg at 5 p.m. today and host Concordia Minn. at 4 p.m. Sunday.

St. Benedict................. 6      15     17     16   —   54

UW-Superior................ 15     11     12     15   —   53

St. Benedict (1-0)

Chelsey Guetter 11, Kate Banovetz 10, Alison Newton 10, Niki Fokken 6, Annie Dittberner 4, Sidney Schiffler 7, Alex Johnson 3, Morgan Merritt 2.

UW-Superior (0-1)

Amelia Leger 9, Hailey Kontny 8, Bailee Bartunek 5, Justine Larson 5, Brittany Laehn 2, Eva Reinertsen 12, Hannah Norlin 8, Megan Aho 2, Jade Tucker 2.

Men’s game

Brazilian native and freshman guard Rafael Monteiro led the Yellowjackets with 21 points and five rebounds in the nonconference loss.

Sophomore Montroy Scott and freshman Christian Sellers each added 14 points, and former Duluth East Greyhound Shaq Coleman had 11 points in his UWS debut.

After playing to a 23-23 tie through the first 16 minutes, the Johnnies pulled ahead to take a 34-31 lead into halftime. UWS rallied to take a 56-55 lead with 9:34 to play.

St. John’s went on an 18-8 run in the second half to pull away.

Overall, UWS finished with 25 personal fouls, which helped lead to St. John’s making 23 free throws, compared to just 10 for Superior.

David Stokman scored 31 points for St. John’s. Tyler Weiss added 22 points.

The Yellowjackets will host the seventh annual Merrill Thompson Tip-Off this weekend, playing Hamline at 7 p.m. today and UW-Eau Claire at 4 p.m. Saturday.

St. John’s............................... 34    55   —        89

UW-Superior........................... 31    48   —        79

St. John’s (1-0)

David Stockman 31, Tyler Weiss 22, Patrick Strom 6, Garrett Goetz 6, John Oliver 5, Jubie Alade 10, Ben Hartmen 7, Brent Hentges 2.

UW-Superior (0-1)

Rafael Monteiro 21, Montroy Scott 14, Shaq Coleman 11, Andreas Preisler 5, Nate Kalien 3, Christian Sellers 14, Rob Lander 6, Nik Keller 5.