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Roncalli boys top Northwestern for second straight win

Aberdeen Roncalli’s Maddox Miller, center, tries to lay up a shot as Mobridge-Pollock’s Caelan McCollam, left, defends during Tuesday night’s game at the Roncalli High School gym. Looking on for the Tigers are Jackson Eisemann (4) and Holden Eisemann, back right. Miller scored 15 points in a victory at Northwestern Tuesday night. Photo by John Davis taken 12/14/2021

MELLETTE – Aberdeen Roncalli was solid on defense, opportunistic on offense and picked up its second win this week with a 51-40 boys’ basketball victory over Northwestern Tuesday night.

The Cavaliers, fresh off their first win of the season on Monday, added another non-conference triumph by finding high-percentage shots on offense.

“Offensively, we moved the basketball a lot better than we ever have. We kept looking to get it inside to Maddox (May), but with Maddox’s game the last couple of times, he’s demanded a lot more help-side presence that it opened up a lot to the backside,” said Roncalli coach Dan Gallagher. “We kept continuing to swing the ball. We got it inside to other guys for kick out threes. It was just ball movement, patience, understanding where the opportunities were.”

May still finished with 15 points, but other players also had key roles in the contest.

Maddox Miller also had 15 points and had a strong defensive game, according to Gallagher.

“Maddox Miller is someone we’d love to have on the court, but he’s been in foul trouble throughout the season,” Gallagher said. “We saw what happens when we have him the on the court. He went off for 15 tonight and played great help defense.”

Lost in the offensive stats was the performance of Keegan Stewart. Gallagher said he was instrumental in the win, despite managing just five points.

“Keegan is one of our best scorers. There’s no doubt about that,” Gallagher said. “He might have had one of his best games so far the season, just moving the basketball, understanding where the kick out option was.”

Meanwhile, the Roncalli defense was also a big factor as the Cavaliers stayed away from foul trouble, something that has been an issue at times this young season.

“We’re kind of settling down with our hands,” Gallagher said. “We’re still pressuring, but it’s strategy a little bit more. Our half-court defense was just outstanding tonight.”

Jude Ortmeier scored a game-high 18 points to lead the Wildcats.

Roncalli, 2-3 on the season, now has a break until it takes on Tiospa Zina on Jan. 6.

While Gallagher said his players have earned the break, he would like to keep going now that the Cavaliers are hitting their stride.

“With the start we had and going into this thing and the momentum that we’re building, it’s almost like we don’t want to take a break right now,” he said.

For sure, the Cavaliers will be ready to get back after it when the time comes.

“At this point we’re ready to build on what we already started,” Gallagher said.

ABERDEEN RONCALLI: Maddox Miller 5 2-2 15, Zee Mounga 1 0-0 3, Cade Shelton 0 2-2 2, Keegan Stewart 2 0-0 5, Maddox May 4 6-14 15, Aiden Fisher 2 0-0 5, Zane Backous 2 2-2 6. Totals 16 12-20 51.

NORTHWESTERN: Samuel Groft 3 0-0 8, Jude Ortmeier 7 4-6 18, Quintin Fischbach 3 0-0 7, Justin Haven 1 0-0 2, Jamal Gallego 1 1-4 3, Ridge Larson 1 0-0 2. Totals 16 5-10 40.

Aberdeen Roncalli 7 28 42 51

Northwestern 9 20 31 40

3-point field goals – Miller 3, Mounga, Stewart, May, Fisher; Groft 2, Fischbach. Fouled out – Fischbach. Total fouls – Aberdeen Roncalli 11; Northwestern 17. Rebounds – Aberdeen Roncalli 34 (May 16); Northwestern 34 (Ortmeier 14). Turnovers – Aberdeen Roncalli 8; Northwestern 13. Assists – Aberdeen Roncalli 14 (Miller 4); Northwestern 9 (Groft 3, Christopher Toennies 3). Steals – Aberdeen Roncalli 6 (Mounga 3); Northwestern 3.

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