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Girls Basketball

Cavaliers unable to make up early deficit in loss to EPJ

Aberdeen Roncalli’s Rylee Voeller, right, moves the ball up the floor as Tiospa Zina’s Alexia Quinn, far left, gives chase during a game earlier this season at the Roncalli High School gym. In the background are the Wambdi’s Kennadee Bissonette, back center and McKenna O’Keefe, back right. Voeller scored 11 points in a setback to Elk Point-Jefferson Saturday in Madison. Photo by John Davis taken 1/17/2023

MADISON – Elk Point-Jefferson bolted out to a 20-2 lead on the way to a  52-35 win over Aberdeen Roncalli at the NEC-Dak XII Clash girls’ basketball event in Madison on Saturday afternoon.

The Huskies scored the game’s first eight points in the opening three minutes before the Cavaliers scored their first points on a basket by Ava Hanson. Elk Point-Jefferson then tacked on another dozen points for the 18-point advantage.

Roncalli coach Derek Larson said the team started the game in a sluggish way.

“I don’t think we got off the bus,” Larson said. “I thought we didn’t show up ready to play.”

Larson noted that the struggle resulted from turnovers in the full court along with Elk Point-Jefferson knocking down three 3-pointers early in the game.

“It just seemed like it snowballed with us not handling the ball in the full court,” Larson said. “I just didn’t feel like we prepared to start the game.”

Roncalli started to settle in, going on a 9-0 run of its own, including two baskets each from freshmen Rylee Voeller and Claire Crawford, to close the gap to 20-11. Elk Point-Jefferson then closed out the first half by scoring the last six points for 26-11 lead.

The game of runs continued into the second half as Elk Point-Jefferson scored the first 14 points of the third quarter and continued to stifle the Roncalli offense. The Cavaliers were held scoreless until the 1:05 mark of the third quarter, when Voeller made a pair of free throws. EPJ went into the fourth quarter with a commanding 41-16 lead.

The fourth quarter was a different story for the Cavaliers. Roncalli cut the Huskies lead to 41-28 with 2:47 left, as the Cavaliers went on a 12-0 run. Larson was glad to see his team give full effort until the end.

“In the fourth quarter I thought we just played loose,” Larson said. “I thought we did a really good job on the defensive end. I know they made free throws in the fourth quarter, but they struggled to score, also.”

Despite the valiant effort by the Cavaliers, Elk Point-Jefferson was able to knock down nine free throws in the closing minutes to preserve its double-digit lead.

Elk Point-Jefferson’s Kaitlyn VanRoekel led all scorers with 17 points, while Bentlee Kollbaum had 11. Ashley Brewer contributed eight, and Courtney Brewer added seven.

Roncalli was led by Hanson with 13 points, while Voeller added 11.

Despite the loss, Larson noted that there were some good takeaways from the game, as well as things to improve on.

“Defensively, I thought we played a pretty good game. They shot the ball well early, but after the first quarter I thought our defense was pretty solid,” Larson said. “We need to do a better job in the full court of handling the basketball.”

Aberdeen Roncalli (7-8) hosts Miller on Tuesday as part of a girls-boys doubleheader at Roncalli Gym.

ABERDEEN RONCALLI (7-8): Camryn Bain 0 1-2 1, Maddie Huber 1 3-5 6, Claire Crawford 2 0-0 4, Ava Hanson 5 3-4 13, Morgan Helms 0 0-2 0, Rylee Voeller 4 2-4 11. Totals 12 9-17 35.

ELK POINT-JEFFERSON (8-7): Kaitlyn VanRoekel 4 7-8 17, Courtney Brewer 3 1-2 7, Cera Schmitz 0 2-2 2, Ashley Brewer 2 2-2 8, Bentlee Kollbaum 4 2-4 11, Josie Curry 0 0-2 0, Danica Torrez 1 0-0 3, Grace Peed 1 0-0 2, Linley Schmitz 1 0-0 2. Totals 16 14-18 52.

Aberdeen Roncalli 2 11 16 35

Elk Point-Jefferson 15 26 41 52

3-point field goals – Huber, Voeller; VanRoekel 2, A. Brewer 2, Kollbaum, Torrez. Fouled out – Huber. Total fouls – Elk Point-Jefferson 18; Aberdeen Roncalli 17.

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