10:35 PM AKST, December 21, 2012
Aberdeen Roncalli’s blueprint for success went according to plan again on Friday.
The No. 2-ranked Cavaliers downed Britton-Hecla 53-24 in a Northeast Conference girls’ basketball game at Roncalli Gym. Roncalli improves to 5-0 on the season and much like the previous four outings, the Cavaliers used solid defense and a balanced scoring attack to fuel the win.
“We really rely heavily on our defense,” Roncalli coach Derek Larson said. “Seems like every night, we strive at the defensive end. When you don’t shoot the basketball well, you have to rely on your defense to win. Tonight, we didn’t shoot it very well. In their zone, they kind of dared us to shoot it and we weren’t shooting the ball well, but our defense really picked it up well for us.”
Morgan Gunderson powered the Cavaliers on the offensive end with a game-high 16 points, including 12 in the second half. Mollee Karst netted 15 points, including 13 in the first half. She also grabbed 10 boards for a double-double. Seven other Roncalli players scored.
“We did a decent job spreading the ball around,” Larson said. “We don’t ever have one person that is scoring 30 a night or 20 a night. We are pretty balanced on the offensive end.”
And while the offense was working, so was the defense for the Cavaliers. The Braves made only six total field goals and went through long stretches at a time without making a field goal. Britton-Hecla did not have a player score more than double figures.
“We are definitely a defense-focused team,” Gunderson said. “We always stress it. We get pretty physical. Even though with our size we have to make up for it with quickness.”
Roncalli, which never trailed, jumped out to a 5-0 lead. Britton-Hecla tied the score up at 5-5 midway through the first quarter. However, the Braves only scored eight points the rest of the first half as the Cavaliers held a comfortable 27-13 margin at the break.
“We couldn’t make baskets and we didn’t take our time,” Britton-Hecla coach Terry Nelson said. “We just rushed ourselves.”
Roncalli held the Braves to only seven points in the third quarter and four points in the final period. The Cavaliers led by as much as 30 points in the waning moment of the game.
Kassi Jones led the Braves with nine points and 10 rebounds. Britton-Hecla drops to 3-2 on the season and 0-2 in NEC play. The Braves will now be off until after New Years Day. They will host Webster on Jan. 4.
“The kids know we can do it,” Nelson said about his team. “We just need to keep the attitude up and get after it.”
The Cavaliers will host Herreid-Selby Area, which is honorable mention in Class B, next Friday at the Northern State Classic at Wachs Arena. It will be a good early season test for the Cavaliers.
“We are definitely excited for the rest of the season,” Gunderson said. “We still have a lot of things to work on.”
BRITTON-HECLA: Morgan Storley 1 1-2 3, Kassi Jones 2 5-7 9, Shelby Elsen 2 4-6 8, Ashley Fosness 1 2-3 4. Totals 6 12-18 24.
ABERDEEN RONCALLI: Tage Hanson 1 0-0 2, Taylor Hanson 2 0-1 6, Morgan Gunderson 5 6-7 16, Mollee Karst 7 1-2 15, Abby Dockter 0 1-4 1, Emily Bohle 1 0-0 2, Kate Heintzman 0 2-2 2, Paige Sommers 3 0-1 7, Mikayla Malsam 0 2-2 2. Totals 19 12-19 53.
Britton-Hecla (3-2)| 6 13 20 24
Aberdeen Roncalli (5-0)| 13 27 38 53
3-point field goals -- Taylor Hanson 2, Sommers. Total fouls -- Britton-Hecla 17; Aberdeen Roncalli 17. Rebounds -- Britton-Hecla 25 (Jones 10); Aberdeen Roncalli 35 (Karst 10, Dockter 7). Turnovers -- Britton-Hecla 18; Aberdeen Roncalli 16. Officials -- Tom Waage, Steve Markley. B Game -- Roncalli 40-23.
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