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Cavaliers stay unbeaten on special night

Aberdeen Roncalli’s Madelyn Bragg, center, blocks the shot attempt of Redfield’s Teryn Jandel, right, during Thursday night’s game at the Roncalli High School gym.In on the play are Roncalli’s Allie Morgan, far left and Morgan Fiedler, far right. At left for the Pheasants is Chelsea Smith. Photo by John Davis taken 12/16/2021

It was a signature night at Roncalli gym. The defending Class A state champions from Aberdeen Roncalli hung up their state championship banner and then hung up another girls’ basketball victory.

Now a member of the Class B field, the top-ranked Cavaliers’ defense dominated most of the game, most notably holding Redfield to just nine points in the first half. Roncalli coasted the rest of the way for a 53-25 Northeast Conference victory.

Roncalli coach Derek Larson was happy with the defensive effort and felt it helped generate some of his team’s offense in the game.

“Our full-court defense was really good in the first quarter,” said Larson. “We got a lot of easy baskets off it and showing the tough defense early put us in a good spot.”

Offensively, Madelyn Bragg was a force inside for Roncalli. The senior center led the squad with 23 points, including shooting 4 of 5 from the free-throw line. Olivia Hanson followed with 11 points, and Ava Hanson provided a spark off the bench tallying 10.

Larson thought his team got a bit stagnant on offense at times, but believes improvement will follow moving forward.

“Offense went dry in the second quarter. It was something we didn’t have to worry about the first two nights of the season,” Larson said. “We shot too many one-pass three’s instead of making the defense work. It’s all something we can improve on.”

Members of the Aberdeen Roncalli girls basketball team look on as the 2021 Class A Championship banner is raised in the far corner of the Roncalli High School gym before Thursday night’s game against Redfield. Photo by John Davis taken 12/16/2021

Kaite Rozell and Chelsea Smith combined to score 14 points for the Pheasants. Rozell led the team with eight, while Smith finished with six.

Redfield coach Tommy Gregg knows there are some aspects to work out. However, he notably was impressed with his team’s defensive effort.

“That second quarter, we held them to five points,” Gregg said. “We can build off that as a team, especially against a team like Roncalli who is the top team in B.”

As the season continues for the Pheasants, Gregg wants his team to focus on finding consistency.

“We show flashes offensively and defensively so far,” Gregg said. “The big thing is we have to be more consistent. Consistency all across the board, but it takes a while for things to jell and we’ll get where we need to be.”

Roncalli will host Sully Buttes on Monday in a girls-boys doubleheader. Redfield will have a home contest against Groton on Monday.

REDFIELD: Teryn Jandel 1 1-3 3, Camryn Rohlfs 1 0-0 2, Katie Rozell 4 0-0 8, Gracie Fast 2 0-0 4, Chelsea Smith 3 0-0 6, Ellie Evans 1 0-0 2. Totals 12 1-3 25.

ABERDEEN RONCALLI: Madelyn Bragg 9 4-5 23, Morgan Fiedler 4 0-0 8, Olivia Hanson 2 6-8 11, Ava Hanson 3 2-2 10, Madison Martin 0 1-2 1. Totals 18 13-20 53.

Redfield 4 9 19 25

Aberdeen Roncalli 20 25 39 53

3-point field goals – Bragg, O. Hanson, A. Hanson. Total Fouls – Redfield 17; Aberdeen Roncalli 14.

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