Winning the Visitation Christmas Tournament is Habit Forming for Incarnate Word

Red Knights smother Angels with a smothering defense in a 46-41 win.

There’s a lot of things the St. Joseph’s Academy basketball team can do. But one of the enigmas in their lives is not beating their arch rivals the Red Knights of Incarnate Word Academy. The Word won out last night 46-41 in the 37th renewal of the Visitation Christmas tournament, the most prestigious of the bunch over the holidays.

The place was packed to the rafters as IWA led from end to end. Ahead by as many as nine, the Angels pulled within two on several second half occasions.

But winning was not meant to be. Incarnate has won the last five tournament titles, capturing the last three over the Angels. Last year’s win was by one point.

The Angels committed too many sins to pull this one out. They clanged three-pointers off the rim; they missed layups and missed far too many free throws. They missed more free throws last night than they usually miss in a season.

The Angels flat out looked tired, having played their 13th game since the first of December. “They are teen agers, they should be able to play about every night. We don’t like to make excuses,” said Bob Goessling assistant coach.

The Angels had more turnovers than McDonald’s in Creve Coeur. Incarnate Word played rugged defense and and when Erin Nelson failed to box out with 33 seconds left in the game, Carly Frala followed with a made shot and the 44-41 lead was enough to win.

“We were a little anxious. We had poor shot selections. We just couldn’t pull it off,” said St. Joe coach Julie Matheny.

Taylor Manual, senior center who led the way with 10 points was thrilled to be the winner. “We’re very happy we got this win. We were not nervous at all. Our team responded to everything they gave us. It was a very good team effort,” she said.

Dan Rolfes, head IWA coach is kind of used to carting off the first place hardware. He maintains a mastery over St. Joe, whether it be in his own gym, at St. Joe’s place or the Viz tournament.

“We played extremely well tonight and we were tough when it counted. This is the way it should be. We won in front of what seemed like about a gazillion people. It’s just a great feeling to win in front of this type of environment. This win was for all of our kids,” he said.


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