The group of five seniors on the St. Thomas More girls' basketball game has won a lot of championships and a lot of games during their high school careers.

Tuesday night, on senior night, the group added another win to the ever growing list.

The Cavaliers jumped on Douglas early and cruised to a 67-22 win during their last regular season home game of the season.

Although STM has all but clinched hosting a 8A regional playoff game, senior Jayden Bies said the game still had a lot of meaning.

"It's been indescribable," she said of her high school career. "I've been playing under (STM) coach (Brandon) Kandolin since sixth grade, and for it to be my senior year, to have all those championships on that banner, it's so hard to put into words because it's such an amazing feeling."

The championships speak for themselves, as the Cavs have four straight years on the Class A state champions banner that hangs in the gym. Kandolin said that has made this a special group to coach.

"I know some of them have spent a lot of time in this gym and know it's finally wrapping up," he said. "They certainly want to end on a strong note. When they play at their potential, this group is a pretty solid group."

After a 43-42 loss on the road to Belle Fourche Jan. 30, Kandolin said he needed to see more leadership and pointed to the seniors as a good place to start.

Since that loss, he said he has noticed a change in the group that has already accomplished so much.

"I think when you've got that many seniors, it's hard for one senior to stand out," he said. "We talked about then, the vision of where we want to go and what we want to do has to be the same. We can't have different visions trying to get to the same goal. I think that ability to play for each other has really picked up."

For Bies, who led the team in scoring Tuesday with 19, the special bound the group shares off the court is what has helped make them so successful.

"We just know what each other is going to do," she said. "We flow really well together because we're such good friends on and off the court."

The Cavs jumped out to an early 10-0 lead because of a three-quarter court pressure that forced the Patriots into a lot of turnovers. STM ended the first leading 19-6.

"They're a pretty solid team and that (Jordynn) Toliver girl is a handful, and it took us awhile to figure out how we wanted to contain her," Kandolin said. "Once we were able to contain her things got a lot easier for us ... to get things started sometimes when the offense isn't going the turnovers are important."

Bies got a few of her points off of turnovers, and said in general defense is what the Cavs have prided themselves on during the state championship run.

"We know that's what's won our last four championships," she said. "We have to come out with the most intensity we can on the defensive end, because if we come out hard on defense, it transitions into our offense."

STM didn't let up in the second quarter, outscoring Douglas 19-9 to go into halftime leading 38-15.

The third quarter was when the Cavs clamped down on defense. Douglas didn't make a field goal and scored only one point as STM led 57-16 heading into the fourth quarter.

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A running clock was put into effect with 5:47 left in the quarter and the Cavs leading 46-15.

"They're good and we're young and learning," Douglas coach Duane Wince said. "Hopefully we get better for the next game."

In the fourth quarter the reserves played for both sides, and STM outscored the Patriots 10-6.

Aislinn Duffy had 12 points for STM, while Klaire Kirsch had 10. Douglas was led by Toliver and Nique High Hawk, who both had seven points.

As the reserves came in and started to hit a few shots, the group of seniors that includes Bies, Duffy, Kirsch, Kayla Jacobson and Natasha Swedlund, was seen cheering on their teammates enthusiastically.

Kandolin said it's something that has happened all season, but he was happy to see it again Tuesday.

"I think that is a thing that has picked up," he said. "It's being happy for your teammates, and being happy for the things you've accomplished. If they can be on the same page and be happy for everybody, and everyone is contributing in some way, whether it's on the bench or on the floor, that's going to be huge for where you want to go."

STM, 16-2, will close out the regular season at Hot Springs Friday while Douglas, 4-13, hosts Spearfish Thursday.

Contact Geoff Preston at

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Sports Reporter

Sports reporter for the Rapid City Journal.