REMSEN -- Remsen St. Mary's came within seven points, but the Gehlen girls held on to their game-long lead for the 45-31 win Tuesday.
"It was a hard-fought game," Gehlen girls coach Marty Kurth said. "Remsen St. Mary's played very well. We made some free throws down the stretch and that was the biggest part of the game for us."
The teams started neck-and neck, going into the second quarter 11-10, with the Jays leading.
Then Gehlen kept the Hawks scoreless in the second quarter, piling on 16 more points for the Jays.
"When you don't score in the second quarter and you dig yourself in too deep of a hole, it's hard to come back when you're playing good teams," RSM girls coach Nick Staab said.
Going into halftime, Gehlen led 27-10.
"The girls did a great job defensively," Kurth said. "St. Mary's returned the favor, unfortunately."
The Hawks rallied back in the third quarter, stymying the Jay's efforts and holding them to three, while RSM doubled their own score, making it 30-20 heading into the final period.
"We came out in the third and fourth quarter and we were a totally different team," Staab said.
Remsen St. Mary's closed it to seven points in the fourth quarter and saw opportunities to edge even closer, but they couldn't convert.
"We had some chances. We missed a few wide-open layups," Staab said. "We had too many turnovers."
The Jays renewed their energy, scoring 15 points before the final buzzer.
"It was a hard-fought end of the game," Kurth said. "Free throws down the stretch extended the lead for us."
The Gehlen coach said the Jays had their best performance of the season from the free-throw line. The girls were 17-of-21 on foul shots for the night.
Leading scorer for the night was Gehlen's Hannah Sitzmann with 14 points. The junior went 5-of-6 from the charity stripe.
Senior Katelin Langel was also in double figures scoring for the Jays with 10 points.
Junior Alison Schnepf added nine more.
Langel grabbed five steals and Schnepf pulled down nine rebounds.
"Alison had a good, well-rounded game for us," Kurth said.
For RSM, senior Paige Harpenau led with nine points, senior Miranda Staab added eight and sophomore Alexis Bunkers put up seven.
Senior Anyssa Trejo grabbed six rebounds for the Hawks and Miranda Staab had five for the night.
RSM matches up with cross-town rival Remsen-Union Friday, and Gehlen will host Trinity Christian, Hull.
Gehlen's record improves to 9-2 after Tuesday's non-conference game. The Hawks' record drops to 5-6.
The Jays' win was payback for an RSM win over Gehlen in December on the Jays' home court, 41-37.
Tuesday's game wraps up Gehlen and RSM's regular season play, but there's a chance the two teams will meet up in playoffs.
"Hopefully we'll meet again," Staab said.