When you hold a team without any field goals — or at least very few field goals — your chances of victory go up considerably.
It’s no wonder the St. Thomas More girls’ basketball team is the Class A four-time state champions and looking for more. STM concluded the Cavalier Christmas Classic with an impressive 53-14 win over Aberdeen Roncalli Friday night at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center.
It was all St. Thomas More, as the score indicated, as the Cavaliers in blue and white held Roncalli to just three field goals in the game. The Cavaliers in green didn’t hit their first field goal until 2:54 left in the third period.
“They had some good looks, but thank goodness they weren’t able to knock them down,” STM coach Brandon Kandolin said. “At the same time, other than a few of those open looks, we didn’t leave them with too many chances to get an easy one.”
Despite turning the basketball over three times in their first four possessions, it didn’t take long for STM to take control, scoring the first 12 points of the game and leading 14-2 at the end of one.
Aberdeen Roncalli could manage just three free throws in the second period and St. Thomas More led 30-5 at halftime.
“We were just staying composed and relaxed, waiting for good options on offense, and as always, playing the best defense as possible, no matter what the score is,” said STM freshman Haleigh Timmer.
Offensively, it was the Timmer Show in the second, as she scored nine of her 11 points.
“We just try not to force anything. We make them play defense on us and look for the best options,” Timmer said. “We just let the game come to us.”
Kandolin said that Timmer is quite the freshman, who does all of the little things well.
“She is so fast; one of the fastest players I have seen with her first step,” he said. “She is actually very creative with her body, and as she continues to grow and mature, it is going to be interesting to see how she develops.”
Added Timmer, the first Cavalier off of the bench: “I just feel honored to be on this team, a great program, and have great teammates to play with. It’s really fun.”
Grace Imbery finally got the ball in the hoop for Roncalli late in the third quarter on a 3-pointer, but her free throw was the only other point for the team in the quarter, and STM led 41-9 with one to play.
Kandolin then went to his bench early in the fourth and got 14 players into the game, with nine scoring.
As has been the case all season, St. Thomas More shot the ball well, based off of their defense.
“I was looking at our four-game statistics, and we’re shooting 53 percent as a team; some girls are shooting 70 or 80 percent from the field,” Kandolin said. “We’ve had some very good looks. Another statistic is 70 percent of our baskets come from assists. To me that is being pretty disciplined and everybody being involved, and that will be a key for us to be successful.”
Jayden Bies, with three 3-pointers, added 11 points for STM, while Klaire Kirsch and Aislinn Duffy both scoring six points.
Imbery led Roncalli, 4-2, with four points.
“That is a very good team; I really love what they do,” Kandolin said of Roncalli. “They run their sets, they are very disciplined. They will be a good team. As young as they are, in the next couple of years they will be a very solid team. For us to come out and make it tough on them, that is what we need."
Kandolin said it was a good two days for his team and the tournament as a whole.
“We’re excited that they all came out and I’m excited for the next couple of weeks,” he said. “We’re going to have some pretty tough games coming up.”
STM, 6-0, will be at Tea Area and Elk Point-Jefferson next weekend.