Roncalli stormed back from a 10-point deficit and made a last-second defensive stand to pick up a 53-51 girls basketball victory over Sisseton Friday night at the Roncalli Gym.
It got the top-ranked Cavaliers back into the win column after their first loss of the season against Hamlin.
Here are a couple of takeaways from the game.
Sisseton gets hot from three-point range in the first half
Sisseton entered the game riding an eight-game winning streak and got out to a fast shooting start, connecting on seven three-pointers in the first half.
"They could not have shot it better I don't think, in the first half ... Holy cow, they really came out on fire and we maybe didn't defend the three well enough, but I cannot imagine seeing more threes go through the net than what they made in the first half," Roncalli head coach Derek Larson said.
In the first half alone, Tara Nelson connected on four three-pointers for Sisseton. Going into the halftime break, Sisseton led 31-26.
At one point, in the second half, Sisseton held a 38-28 lead, but the Cavs were able to respond.
"I thought we went through kind of a big challenge going into that second half just because we had so many things that seemed like go wrong in the first half. Down the stretch, I thought defense tightened up for us, we really got key stops, key defensive rebounds and some key offensive rebounds and put backs down the stretch," Larson said.
Roncalli held Sisseton to two three-pointers in the second half. Both Hannah Leverson and Nelson finished with four three-pointers for Sisseton. Down the stretch, Sisseton had a number of opportunities it was unable to convert on, which left the door open for a Roncalli comeback.
"They had opportunities ... They missed a couple in a row, and we were really fortunate to just get some lucky bounces at that point," Larson said
Cavs rally without Madelyn Bragg
In the second half, Roncalli was without one of its leading scorers, Madelyn Bragg, due to illness. In the first half, Bragg connected on one three-pointer and finished the game with seven points.
Both Morgan Fiedler and Olivia Hanson pitched in offensively for the Cavaliers.
"I think down the stretch you could tell that (Fiedler) really wanted the ball in her hands, and we definitely leaned on her heavy as the game went on," Larson said.
Fiedler finished with 17 points and hit the key shot with less than 15 seconds to play to put Roncalli ahead. The Cavaliers were able to defend a last-second shot from Sisseton to seal the deal. Fiedler scored seven of her points in the fourth quarter.
All tied up at 51, and Morgan Fiedler connects on this basket to give the Cavs a 53-51 advantage. Nine seconds remaining and Sisseton has the ball. pic.twitter.com/IMnaKrVaQZ
— Trent Abrego (@TrentAbregoAAN) January 29, 2022
Hanson also stepped up for the Cavaliers, forcing a number of turnovers and contributing 14 points. Hanson scored 12 of her 14 points in the second half when Bragg was out.
"She's just our energy person. Whenever we need a big play, it seems like she's always in the midst of it. Whether it's defensively or offensively, getting key offensive rebounds and put-backs, or just playing her tail off the defensive end. We always know that she'll be up for that every night," Larson said.
Jeci Ewart added seven points for Roncalli while Ella Hanson had six. The win moves Roncalli to 11-1 on the season.
"I thought our crowd here tonight was awesome, I mean, this whole place was electric. ... A conference win is a conference win, they always come tough and these guys will be tough in the postseason, so glad we got this one," Larson said.
The games against Hamlin and Sisseton provided tests against two good Class A teams.
Up next, Roncalli is scheduled to travel to Tiospa Zina on Monday with tip scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
This article originally appeared on Aberdeen News: Aberdeen Roncalli girls basketball rallies past Sisseton