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Roncalli moves to 10-0 with win over Bulldogs

Aberdeen Roncalli’s Ella Hanson, left, moves to the basket ahead of Mobridge-Pollock’s Katy Kemnitz, center and Mariah Goehring, right, during a game earlier this season at the Roncalli High School gym. Photo by John Davis taken 12/14/2021

MILBANK – Aberdeen Roncalli turned in another defensive gem and this one led to a perfect 10.

The top-rated Cavaliers allowed just seven total field goals on the way to a 52-18 Northeast Conference girls’ baskeball victory over Milbank Area. Roncalli is now 10-0 on the season.

“We really defended well. We all kind of did our part,” said Roncalli coach Derek Larson. “I don’t think there’s anyone that stood out on the defensive end. I thought everyone just kind of executed our game plan with matchups. I thought we just did a sound job.”

Once again the Cavaliers decided not to employ their full-court press, instead just focusing on stopping opponents in the half court.

“The last three times we haven’t full-courted,” Larson said. “Our defense has been better. We’re not wearing ourselves out in the full court. We’re doing a better job of keeping people in front of us and making them beat us, rather than beat ourselves.”

Madelyn Bragg scored 18 points and grabbed seven rebounds to lead the victory. Morgan Fiedler and Olivia Hanson each contributed 13 points.

The Cavaliers also received a boost from Ava Hanson and Ella Hanson off the bench.

Ava scored seven points after getting eight in her last game.

“She’s been pretty consistent,” Larson said. “She’s been a spark for us coming off the bench.”

While Ella didn’t do much scoring against the Bulldogs, Larson said she contributed in other ways.

“She only scored one point tonight, but I thought she did a really good job of doing a lot of things that don’t show up in a box score,” Larson said, “playing good help-side defense and doing a good job of rebounding for us.”

Roncalli has a big week of NEC games coming up, playing at defending league champion Hamlin on Tuesday, before hosting once-beaten Sisseton on Friday.

Larson said lately the conference crown has come down to the Hamlin-Roncalli game.

“It’s come down to one point the last 2-3 years in the regular season. We kind of came up on the wrong side of those,” Larson said. “I know our kids will be there to play hard.”

While there is a lot of history between the two programs, including Roncalli’s win over the Chargers in last year’s Class A state championship game, Larson said the Cavaliers will treat the contest as just one of 20 regular-season games.

“It’s a big game, but I don’t think it’s any bigger than any other game for us,” Larson said. “I think we just need to play the way we play and do the things that we do well.”

ABERDEEN RONCALLI (10-0): Madelyn Bragg 8 2-3 18, Morgan Fiedler 6 0-0 13, Olivia Hanson 5 3-4 13, Ella Hanson 0 1-2 1, Ava Hanson 3 0-0 7, Maddie Huber 0 0-1 0. Totals 22 6-10 52.

MILBANK AREA (4-6): Isabella Anderson 1 0-0 2, Tyra Berry 1 0-0 2, Claire Snaza 2 1-3 5, Maurina Street 2 2-3 6, Sierra Wenzl 1 0-0 3, Shaylee Schuchard 0 0-1 0. Totals 7 3-7 18.

Aberdeen Roncalli 17 28 47 52

Milbank Area 1 10 15 18

3-point field goals – Fiedler, A. Hanson; Wenzl. Total fouls – Aberdeen Roncalli 11; Milbank Area 13. Rebounds – Aberdeen Roncalli 30 (Bragg 7); Milbank Area 26 (Snaza 7).

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