To get a chance to win their fifth straight Class A girts' state championship, the St. Thomas More Cavaliers had to get there first.
They did just that, advancing out of the Round of 16 with a 52-28 win over Redfield/Doland Thursday night in Pierre.
The Cavaliers, 19-3, got a solid game from the Pheasants in the first half, and only led 13-9 at the end of the first quarter and 21-16 at halftime.
But STM made some halftime adjustments that paid off and knocked off the No. 15 seed of the tournament.
Also in Pierre, No. 1 Belle Fourche advanced to the state tournament with a 50-38 win over Wagner.
STM coach Brandon Kandolin said in the second quarter they weren't quite able to get away from the Pheasants, who he said defended and did a lot of things well.
"Redfield was certainly prepared, and they have a solid team," Kandolin said. "The first half we didn't take care of the ball real well and we got into some foul trouble with some silly fouls, especially when those fouls are a long ways from the basket. It put some pressure on us."
Kandolin, however, said the adjustments they made in the second half consisted of being more patient on offense and stepping up the defense by getting into passing lanes.
"We got some steals that helped us get some transition baskets. That is one of the things that really helps kick-start our offense," he said. "I also thought we passed the ball around really well in the second half. We had a lot of touches, and they were keying on Aislinn (Duffy) inside, so she was able to kick it out and we started knocking down outside shots."
Alex Kandolin came off the bench to pace the Cavs with 13 points, followed by Jayden Bies and Klaire Kirsch with 10 points each.
Addison Ruzzell's nine points led Redfield/Doland, which finished the season at 13-10.
The Cavaliers will now head into the state tournament with some momentum. Brandon Kandolin said it is going to be a strong field to contend with.
"It is going to be a stacked field and I'm excited," he said. "With this format, it gets some of those better teams in there. This year will be a fun tournament."
BELLE FOURCHE 50, WAGNER 38: The top-seeded Broncs earned a state tournament berth with the win over the Red Raiders, also in Pierre.
Belle Fourche, 21-1 on the season, was only up 23-19 at halftime, but slowly began to pull away with a strong second half. The Broncs led 43-32 heading into the fourth quarter.
Shayla Howell led the Broncs with 15 points, while Taylor Hanson added 12 and Mandee Williamson seven points..
Wagner, which finished the season at 8-15, was led by Kayli Kocer with 14 points.
In other area Round of 16 action, Pine Ridge and Todd County came out on the short end of its quest to earn state tournament berths.
Aberdeen Roncalli stopped Todd County 54-44 and Crow Creek downed Pine Ridge 88-71.
No other results were made available.
In Class B, No. 1 Faith just got past No. 16 Kadoka Area 57-55 in Spearfish. No other results were made available.
No. 2 Hanson also nipped No. 15 Timber Lake 43-42. Lexy White led Timber Lake with 12 points.
No. 6 Ethan toppled No. 11 Lower Brule 68-46. Molly Jandreau led Lower Brule with 15 points and Chasidy LaRoche added 11 points.