Hannah Ronsiek sparks O'Gorman High School girls basketball run over Washington

·3 min read

All O'Gorman High School guard Hannah Ronsiek needed was to see a few go in.

“When I’m not hitting them at first, I tend to not shoot anymore,” Ronsiek said. “So, when I get a few of those, I just try to stay hot. Keep shooting.”

She did. Ronsiek’s 20 points sparked a huge run by O’Gorman High girls basketball (5-1) that contributed to a 61-52 win Monday over Washington (6-1) at Washington High School. Ronsiek added seven rebounds. The No. 1 and No. 2 team in Class AA traded runs all game, but the Knights’ biggest run outlasted that of the Warriors, who dropped their first game of the season at home.

O’Gorman came out firing in the first quarter. Ronsiek scored all eight of her first-half points in the quarter and the Knights were working the ball inside the arc routinely, getting baskets in the post and off cuts. Washington jumped out to a quick lead, but the steady play of the Knights eventually allowed them to catch up, and eventually surpass them.

Washinton guard Alexus Motley guarded by O'Gorman forward Bergen Reilly on Jan. 10, 2022.
Washinton guard Alexus Motley guarded by O'Gorman forward Bergen Reilly on Jan. 10, 2022.

“The key to this game was rebounding,” Ronsiek said. “We did a good job of that.”

Yet the Knights struggled from beyond the arc, shooting just 12% in the first half, which offered Washington an opportunity. Brooklyn Harpe and Hannah Harpe hit 3’s in each corner, and the makes from the outside opened room in the middle for Ndjakalenga Mwenentanda (21 points, eight rebounds), who used her size and versatility to create driving lanes.

Early in the second quarter, Mwenentanda drove in from the right wing, spun toward the middle of the court with the ball in her right hand and switched to her left to finish the layup. She went back to that spin move often, much to her success.

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The Knights didn’t go away, though. Ronsiek’s buzzer-beating triple just missed the mark and, early in the third quarter, O’Gorman picked up an and-1 on a basket by No. 24. The lead remained at four for a while, but then Lucy Moore hit a 3-pointer to make it a one-point game. A possession later, Ronsiek got loose on the right wing and hit a go-ahead 3-pointer to make it 35-33 Knights.

From there, Ronsiek exploded. She followed a shot and hit a short jumper. She muscled in transition for an and-1. When the whistle blew and her shot fell, she hardly changed her facial expression. She was in the zone.

O’Gorman went on a run, a run big enough to stretch their lead to double digits. Kira Mentele (16 points) worked inside and hit free throws. Mahli Abdouch (11 points, five assists) handled the offense and limited turnovers. Washington, whose superior size led to numerous offensive rebounds whenever they started to go on a run of their own, was outrebounded in the second half with the efforts of forward Bergen Reilly (nine rebounds).

Washington forward Ndjakalenga Mwenentanda holds the ball overhead on Jan. 10, 2022.
Washington forward Ndjakalenga Mwenentanda holds the ball overhead on Jan. 10, 2022.

Late in the game, Washington wouldn’t go away though. Mwenentanda made plays all over the court: offensive rebounds and finishes, deep 3-pointers, step-back 2-pointers. Yet the Knights run earlier was big enough, and even with the run at the end, they survived.

More: O'Gorman beats Washington for Class AA volleyball title: Photos

“Give them credit, that’s what good teams do,” O’Gorman head coach Ken Kolsrud said. “We just needed to keep our composure.”

Follow Sioux Falls Argus Leader reporter Michael McCleary on Twitter @mikejmccleary.

This article originally appeared on Sioux Falls Argus Leader: Hannah Ronsiek sparks O'Gorman girls basketball win over Washington

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