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Roncalli silences Redfield; earns State A tourney berth

Members of the Aberdeen Roncalli girls basketball team celebrate at the final buzzer as they advanced to the Class A State Basketball tournament with a SoDak 16 win over Redfield Thursday night in Ipswich. Photo by John Davis taken 3/4/2021

IPSWICH – Aberdeen Roncalli relied on a familiar staple to pick up a familiar piece of hardware Thursday night in Ipswich.

The Cavaliers once again cranked up their defense and qualified for their fourth consecutive State A girls’ basketball tournament with a 50-15 win over Redfield in SoDak 16 girls’ basketball action.

Roncalli bottled up Redfield scoring leader Addison Rozell, forced the Pheasants to take perimeter shots and harassed them into 20 turnovers during the contest.

“Going in we said we really wanted to control Rozell,” said Roncalli coach Derek Larson, noting that Rozell finished with just three points. “We couldn’t have done any better job than that. Forced them to make some long jump shots. I thought we stopped a lot to the rim. Didn’t give up dribble penetration. Again, really did a great job defensively.”

Rozell averaged 23 points per game this season, but could never find any room to operate inside.

“We worked as a team. We knew what we had in front of us. We played our best,” said Roncalli’s Elissa Hammrich. “Addison Rozell is a great player in the post. We knew double the post, make sure she doesn’t get the ball, stay on her, kind of stay straight up, don’t get into foul trouble.”

Meanwhile, Olivia Hanson and her Cavalier teammates were wreaking havoc out front. Hanson finished with five steals, often getting in passing lanes to pick off passes.

“We said with their 3-out 2-in we really wanted to deny their wings and I thought that really gave them fits early,” Larson said, “to not let them get into their offense, to get the ball to the post to Rozell and to (Chelsea) Smith. We kind of executed the game plan the way we really wanted to on defense.”

As a result, the Pheasants managed just five total field goals on the night, the first coming 9 1/2 minutes into the game when the Cavaliers already owned a 17-1 lead.

Hanson finished with 13 points to lead a balanced Roncalli attack. Madelyn Bragg added 12, Hammrich followed with 10, and Morgan Fiedler tossed in eight.

Roncalli, 20-2, is now headed back to the state tournament. The Cavaliers qualified last year before the tourney was canceled.

“After last year’s disappointment not getting to play, really happy for the kids,” Larson said. “I’m really happy for our lone senior Elissa Hammrich. Kind of tough when you’re the only senior. She’s done a great job of leading us this year.”

The Cavaliers will meet Sioux Falls Christian in the opening round at 2 p.m. on Thursday in Watertown.

Hammrich could not be more excited about having a chance to finish her career at a state tourney.

“I’m so excited. Everything that’s happened this year is set up to where we’re at now,” Hammrich said. “I’m so excited to get out there and play at the Watertown Arena.”

REDFIELD (16-7): Faith Jandel 2 1-4 6, Chelsea Smith 1 2-2 4, Addison Rozell 1 1-2 3, Teryn Jandel 0 0-2 0, Allison Larson 1 0-0 2. Totals 5-34 4-10 15.

ABERDEEN RONCALLI (20-2): Madelyn Bragg 5 1-2 12, Elissa Hammrich 5 0-0 10, Morgan Fiedler 4 0-0 8, Jeci Ewart 2 0-0 5, Olivia Hanson 6 1-2 13, McKenna O’Keefe 1 0-0 2. Totals 23-54 2-4 50.

Redfield 1 7 10 15

Aberdeen Roncalli 13 24 37 50

3-point field goals – F. Jandel; Bragg, Ewart. Total fouls – Redfield 6; Aberdeen Roncalli 12. Rebounds – Redfield 26 (Rozell 9); Aberdeen Roncalli 36 (Bragg 8). Turnovers – Redfield 20; Aberdeen Roncalli 8. Assists – Redfield 5; Aberdeen Roncalli 18 (Fiedler 8). Steals – Redfield 2; Aberdeen Roncalli 14 (Hanson5).

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