It was the first game of the season, and it was played that way.
Aberdeen Roncalli fended off Mobridge-Pollock 70-59 in the Cavaliers’ season-opener on Monday at Roncalli Gym. The fast-paced and sloppy game featured 48 free throws, 47 fouls, 26 turnovers and 23 missed free throws — not to mention several missed layups.
“It looked like the first game,” Roncalli sophomore guard Brayden McNeary said. “Like usual, we had a lot of turnovers, a lot of fixable things like coach (Todd Neuendorf) said after the game.”
The Cavaliers, who received votes in the first Class A poll of the season, led by as much as 19 points early in the third quarter. The deficit never reached lower than nine points. Roncalli hung on for the win against the resilient Tigers, but it left a lot to be desired for the veteran Cavaliers.
“We have to get smarter,” said Neuendorf, now 6-1 in season-openers as Roncalli’s coach. “We took some ill-advised stuff. We didn’t do a very good job of guarding the basketball tonight. . . . One of the kids on the bench said, ‘This is like an NBA game.’ And it kind of was. Guys up and down the floor taking quick shots early in the offense. We just have to get that fixed.”
Roncalli set the tone early with its usual brand of up-tempo basketball. The Cavaliers, who never trailed, jumped out to a 12-4 lead just three minutes into the game. Roncalli led 24-11 after the first quarter and 43-26 at halftime.
“Things came too easy in the first quarter,” said Neuendorf, now a perfect 7-0 against the Tigers. “We were hitting shots and they were going in and life was good. We didn’t really adjust to the shots not going in. We just kept shooting and we have to get more balance. We have to get inside touches. We have to get stuff going to the rim. I thought we let them off the hook by taking quick shots in our offense.”
McNeary powered the Cavaliers in the first half with 14 of his team-high 16 points. Kory Schwan netted 13 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Big men Dominic King and Nolan Schlosser added 10 points apiece. Schlosser, a reserve, added 10 boards and three blocked shots. The Cavaliers out-rebounded the Tigers 45-22.
“Brayden and Kory are very capable of doing what they did tonight,” Neuendorf said. “Dominic is capable and (so is) Nolan. We just have to get them more touches. We have to just play smarter and let the game come to us.”
Mobridge-Pollock’s Mitchel Heumiller and Daniel Roberts keyed the Tigers second half surge. Heumiller finished with a team-high 14 points, including 12 in the second half. Roberts, an outstanding track and field thrower, tossed in 13 points. Cody Schaefbauer added 10 points for Mobridge-Pollock. The Tigers out-scored the Cavaliers 33-27 in the second half, much to the dismay of the Cavaliers.
“Our defense needs a lot of work,” McNeary said. “We can’t give up 59 points like we did tonight.”
Mobridge-Pollock (0-2) will host Potter County on Saturday. Aberdeen Roncalli (1-0) will host Hamlin on Friday at 8 p.m. at the Roncalli Gym.
“We won, but we just have a terrible taste in our mouth about the way we won it,” Neuendorf said. “It just didn’t feel good. We want to get back on the floor. We want to get to practice and fix some things and get back on the floor and see if we improved ourselves.”
MOBRIDGE-POLLOCK: Zach Dockter 2 0-4 5, Pearson Wientjes 1 2-3 4, Cody Schaefbauer 3 3-4 10, Mitchel Heumiller 5 3-8 14, Daniel Roberts 6 1-2 13, Cody Hanson 2 0-0 4, Jason Hill 2 4-4 8, Alex Greger 0 1-2 1. Totals 21 14-27 59.
ABERDEEN RONCALLI: Kory Schwan 6 0-0 15, Kendal Deutsch 2 0-1 5, Zach Andera 1 1-2 4, Brayden McNeary 4 6-8 16, Dominic King 5 0-2 10, Zach Schaefbauer 1 2-2 4, Lucas Lorenz 1 2-4 4, Nolan Schlosser 4 2-4 10, Layne Holzer 1 0-0 2. Totals 25-61 13-23 70.
Aberdeen Roncalli (1-0)|24435770
3-point field goals — Dockter, C. Schaefbauer, Heumiller, Schwan 3, Deutsch, Andera, McNeary 2. Fouled out — Andera. Total fouls — Mobridge-Pollock 22; Aberdeen Roncalli 25. Rebounds — Mobridge-Pollock 22 (Heumiller 6); Aberdeen Roncalli 45 (Schlosser 12, Schwan 10). Turnovers — Mobridge-Pollock 11; Aberdeen Roncalli 15. Officials — Paul Rozell, Jay Kusler, Lee Johnson. B Game — Aberdeen Roncalli 48-35.
Strasburg-Zeeland, N.D. 62