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Cavaliers go inside for win over Groton

Aberdeen Roncalli’s Madelyn Bragg, center, puts up a shot over Sisseton’s Emmalee Nielsen, left and Hailey Nelson, right, during a game earlier this season at the Roncalli High School gym. Bragg scored 25 points in a win at Groton Monday night. Photo by John Davis taken 1/28/2022

GROTON – Aberdeen Roncalli played inside out Monday night and improved to 15-1 on the season.

The top-rated Cavaliers, behind a game-high 25 points from Madelyn Bragg, defeated Groton 50-24 in a Northeast Conference girls’ basketball game.

Bragg scored 11 first-quarter points to help stake Roncalli to an 18-7 lead.

“I thought we did good job of getting her the ball….When she got doubled or tripled I thought she did a pretty good job of kicking the ball out to our guards, also,” said Roncalli coach Derek Larson. “Other than her offensively, I thought we didn’t get a ton done offensively. We made a couple of shots and Morgan (Fiedler) got out in transition little bit. We definitely were led by our defense more than our offense tonight.”

That defense allowed just nine field goals in the game and did not give up more than seven points in any quarter.

Larson said it all started out front.

“I thought our guards did a really good job of defending well,” Larson said of disrupting the Tigers’ offensive scheme. “They run some ball-screen action and some stagger double screens and I thought our guards did a really good job of getting into their guards and pushing them off their spots. When they start their offense three or four or five feet beyond the three-point line, it just makes it a little bit easier for us to defend.”

Fiedler added 11 points to the Roncalli total and Olivia Hanson contributed 10.

Gracie Traphagen topped Groton with eight points and 11 rebounds. Alyssa Thaler followed with seven points.

Larson was a bit concerned how his team would play after an emotional win over West Central this past weekend, but the Cavaliers set the tone early and were never in trouble after that.

“That’s something we talked about. You don’t want to have like a trap game. We won a big one on Saturday. We didn’t want to have a let down tonight or even (Tuesday night),” Larson said. “We wanted to come with energy right away. I thought we did some really nice things early in the first quarter.”

Roncalli has another road game this evening when it plays at Britton-Hecla. Larson said the Braves are an improved team from the past few seasons.

“Their half-court trap they’ve been playing most of the year seems to be pretty effective for them,” he said. “It seems like they’re a lot longer this year than they have been in the past at a couple of different positions.”

The game will be Roncalli’s third in four days, all against teams with winning records.

“We’re going to have our hands full (tonight),” Larson said. “It’s not going to be a cake walk. Playing back-to-back two nights on the road in a row and especially a conference game.”

ABERDEEN RONCALLI (15-1): Madelyn Bragg 10 5-6 25, Allie Morgan 1 0-0 2, Morgan Fiedler 5 0-0 11, Olivia Hanson 4 1-2 10, Ava Hanson 0 2-2 2. Totals 20 8-10 50.

GROTON (8-7): Alyssa Locke 2 0-0 4, Alyssa Thaler 3 0-0 7, Gracie Traphagen 3 0-0 8, Jerica Locke 1 1-2 3, Kennedy Hansen 0 1-2 1, Jaedyn Penning 0 1-2 1, Laila Roberts 0 0-2 0. Totals 9 3-8 24.

Aberdeen Roncalli 18 29 43 50

Groton 7 12 18 24

3-point field goals – Fiedler, O. Hanson; Thaler, Traphagen 2. Total fouls – Aberdeen Roncalli 8; Groton 10. Rebounds – Groton 29 (Traphagen 11). Turnovers – Groton 9. Assists – Groton 4. Steals – Groton 5.

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