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Girls Basketball

Cavaliers swallow up another foe

Aberdeen Roncalli’s Madelyn Bragg, left, goes after the ball as she and teammates Morgan Fiedler, back center and Allie Morgan, far right, pressure Herreid-Selby Area’s Jennica Berens, front center, during Tuesday night’s game at the Roncalli High School gym. Photo by John Davis taken 12/28/2021

Aberdeen Roncalli overwhelmed another opponent with defense Tuesday night.

The Cavaliers clamped down on Herreid-Selby Area, pitching a shutout in the opening quarter, on the way to a 59-28 non-conference girls’ basketball victory at Roncalli Gym. The number one team in Class B improved to 5-0 on the season.

“Our goal in mind is to win every game and there’s nothing that’s going to hold us back from that, so we want to get those stops,” said Roncalli senior Morgan Fiedler. “We want to keep the score low for (opponents). Our goal is to never let them get into the 30 or the 40s. We want to keep them in the 20s. That’s our goal and our mindset every single game.”

The Cavaliers came out swarming and by the end of the opening period owned an 18-0 advantage.

It was a nightmare come true for HSA coach Steve Sawsinsky, who spoke of a dream he had heading into the contest.

“On more than one occasion I woke up in a cold sweat out of nightmare dream that we hadn’t scored in the whole game. I’m looking at that at the first quarter,” Sawinsky said. “I’ve seen this team. Obviously, I’ve watched them on tape. They can swallow teams up in their man-to-man more so than about any team that I’ve ever seen at our level. They have inside, perimeter, just the talent and the length. It’s really tough to crack for sure.”

The Cavaliers had a couple of goals in mind heading into the contest, and those were naturally both on defense.

“Going into the game we wanted to make sure that we did a couple of things. We didn’t want to give up dribble drive, we wanted to make sure we kept our own girl out of the paint, and we didn’t want to give up basket cuts,” said Roncalli coach Derek Larson. “I thought we did a really good job of that in spurts. The second quarter I didn’t think we did a very good job of that.”

That’s when the Wolverines accomplished one of their goals going into the game. HSA outscored Roncalli 15-12 in the period and also held the Cavaliers to 10 points in the third quarter.

“A couple of goals that we had, we tried to be realistic, numerically if we can hold them to under 13 in any quarter, one quarter or more. I think we did that twice,” Sawinsky said. “I think we outscored them 15-12 in the second. We were pretty excited about that. That’s a good stretch of basketball for us, no doubt about it.”

HSA cut the 18-point deficit in half prompting Larson to call a time out.

When played resumed, the Cavaliers came out more aggressive than ever, converting three straight turnovers into six consecutive points and regained control in less than 30 seconds.

“Our legs were getting tired from pressing them and playing good defense and getting all those stops,” Fiedler said. “We got back into it when we got our press going. We just needed a little bit of leadership out there to get things going again.”

Aberdeen Roncalli’s Morgan Fiedler, center, puts up a shot between the reach of Herreid-Selby Area’s Kendell Sawinsky (10) and Sophia Von Wald (14) during Tuesday night’s game at the Roncalli High School gym. Looking on for the Wolverines are Sophia Ritter, far left, Jennica Berens, back center and Caitlyn Anderson, far right. Photo by John Davis taken 12/28/2021

That defense led to transition offense and the margin never dipped below 15 points after that.

“We really focused on the full-court, scored a lot of quick baskets, easy ones,” Larson said. “I thought we converted effectively on the offensive end, transitioning from our defense.”

Fiedler led the Cavaliers with 17 points, Madelyn Bragg followed with 13 and Olivia Hanson added 11.

Kendell Sawinsky topped the Wolverines with nine points.

Coach Sawinsky believes better days are ahead for his squad.

“The early part of our schedule is a little tougher, stronger,” he said. “If we can keep getting better, we might be OK by the end of the year.”

The Cavaliers, who play at Milbank Area on Tuesday, now become road warriors. The team’s next home game is set for Jan. 28.

“We obviously saw this coming,” Larson said. “Last year we did the exact opposite. We had home games the whole month of January. We just have to learn how to win on the road now.”

HERREID-SELBY AREA: Kendell Sawinsky 3 2-2 9, Jennica Berens 3 0-0 7, Bella Brandner 2 0-0 4, Jada Rossow 2 0-0 4, Mya Ebel 1 0-0 2, Sophia Ritter 1 0-0 2. Totals 12 2-2 28.

ABERDEEN RONCALLI: Madelyn Bragg 5 3-8 13, Allie Morgan 2 0-0 5, Morgan Fiedler 8 0-0 17, Jeci Ewart 2 0-0 5, Olivia Hanson 5 0-0 11, Ava Hanson 1 0-0 3, Madison Martin 1 0-0 2, Maddie Huber 1 0-0 3. Totals 25 3-8 59.

Herreid-Selby Area 0 15 21 28

Aberdeen Roncalli 18 30 40 59

3-point field goals – Sawinsky, Berens; Morgan, Fiedler, Ewart, O. Hanson, A. Hanson, Huber. Total fouls – Herreid-Selby Area 8; Aberdeen Roncalli 10. Rebounds – Herreid-Selby Area 16 (Rossow 6); Aberdeen Roncalli 30 (Bragg 7). Turnovers – Herreid-Selby Area 25; Aberdeen Roncalli 18.

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