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Hamlin sends Roncalli to first setback

Aberdeen Roncalli’s Olivia Hanson, right, puts up a shot attempt over the defense of Herreid-Selby Area’s Sophia Von Wald, left, during a game earlier this season at the Roncalli High School gym. Hanson led the Cavaliers with 13 points in a loss at Hamlin on Tuesday night. Photo by John Davis taken 12/28/2021

HAYTI – Hamlin did what no other team has figured out how to do Tuesday night – slow down Aberdeen Roncalli in the first quarter.

Roncalli, the top-ranked team in the latest Class B poll, entered Tuesday’s contest with an unblemished record and a penchant for getting off to quick starts, but could not find the early handle on the road, falling to the Chargers by a 49-45 count.

Hamlin, which picked up one vote in the Class A girls poll, jumped out to a 16-8 lead at the end of the opening quarter, then held off a late charge from the Cavaliers to preserve the win.

“(Hamlin) played about as well as they could have defensively against what we were trying to do,” said Roncalli coach Derek Larson. “They had a game plan and stuck with it the whole night.”

Part of that game plan was to limit offensive touches for Roncalli senior center Madalyn Bragg, holding the Northern State commit to just nine points on the night.

“It was hard for us to get Bragg some touches,” Larson said. “They were putting three people in the lane the whole night.”

That strategy did open up some shots from the outside, where the Cavaliers drilled eight three-pointers. But, Larson said, Roncalli didn’t get a lot of second-chance opportunities, which hurt.

“It just seemed like we had a lot of empty possessions,” he said.

Still, the Cavaliers did not go quietly into the night. Roncalli battled back using that outside game, taking a slim lead at the end of the third quarter and hitting a big three-pointer late in the game that tied it up.

But Hamlin hit just as big a three on its ensuing possession to retake the lead.

“I thought we did a good job executing on our last three possessions,” Larson said. “We had good looks, but two just rimmed out.”

Kami Wadsworth scored 16 points and Ally Abraham 15 for Hamlin, which improved to 8-2 on the season.

Olivia Hanson tossed in 13 points to pace the Cavaliers, who slipped to 10-1.

Roncalli will have its first home game since December on Friday when it plays host to Sisseton at Roncalli Gym. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m.

ABERDEEN RONCALLI (10-1): Madalyn Bragg 3 3-6 9, Allie Morgan 3 0-0 8, Morgan Fiedler 1 0-0 2, Jeci Ewart 2 0-0 6, Olivia Hanson 5 1-1 13, Ella Hanson 0 1-2 1, Ava Hanson 2 0-0 6. Totals 16 5-9 45.

HAMLIN (8-2): Kami Wadsworth 5 5-6 16, Ally Abraham 5 3-4 15, Zoie Fraser 0 2-2 2, Brooklyn Brandriet 4 1-2 12, Addie Neuendorf 1 1-2 4. Totals 15 12-16 49.

Aberdeen Roncalli 8 18 34 45

Hamlin 16 25 32 49

3-pt FG – Morgan 2, Ewart 2, O. Hanson 2, A. Hanson 2; Wadsworth, Abraham 2, Brandriet 3, Neuendorf. Fouls – Aberdeen Roncallil 13; Hamlin 6.

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