After a grueling early January schedule that took it across the state on back-to-back weekends, some rest and relaxation served the St. Thomas More girls' basketball team well Monday night.
With a week in between games, the Cavs jumped out to an early lead and never looked back in a 67-36 rout of Spearfish at home.
"I think we started off well," STM coach Brandon Kandolin said. "We came out with some good intensity, I thought we were able to contain their guards a little bit because they have some very good quickness, and they have some girls who can shoot it if they're open. They have the ability to drive and get into gaps and that was definitely a concern of ours."
With the exception of Alexsis Kemp, who led the Spartans with 12 points, the Cavs were able to contain Spearfish's guards well, and forced multiple turnovers on the way to a 30-8 first quarter lead.
Spearfish coach Eric Lappe said that hole was too big for the Spartans to dig themselves out of.
"We emphasized that we have to take care of the ball and we didn't do a very good job of that, especially in the first quarter," he said. "They built a lead on us pretty quickly and it kind of got away from us, so you have to take care of the basketball against really good teams."
Spearfish was able to establish more rhythm on offense in the second quarter, but STM was still too quick and able to get out into transition too often.
"We found a bit of a rhythm offensively in the second quarter, we took care of the ball a little better, got some shots as opposed to turnovers and lat-ups on the other end," Lappe said. "That's what we were trying to do in the second quarter but we didn't execute very well."
Jayden Beis hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to send STM to the locker room on top 45-22. She led a balanced offensive effort that saw seven players score with 19 points. Three players scored in double digits, with Aislinn Duffy scoring 17 and Klaire Kirsch adding 15.
In the third quarter the Cavalier defense shined through, allowing just five points and scoring 14 to lead 59-27 at the end of the third and institute the running clock.
The fourth quarter was much of the same, it was the only quarter where Spearfish outscored STM (9-8) as the Spartans fell to 4-7.
"They're very disciplined, they run their stuff extremely well," Lappe said of the Cavs. "They don't miss screens, they don't miss cuts, they run their out of bounds plays very well, we could learn from that. We don't always do that, sometimes we do a good job of it, sometimes we don't, and that's something you can learn from any team."
For STM, who moves to 12-1, some Kandolin said he would like to see some turnovers erased, but overall said he was happy with his team's performance.
"Some of our turnovers seem to be forced turnovers, self inflicted, we have to try to take advantage of making a smart decision when we get the ball and making someone guard us for seven, eight, 10 passes," he said. "After this break, this was a good game for us. Against a very athletic team I thought we were able to do some good things."
Kandolin said if anything, the week between Monday's game and the Jan. 16 win against Lead-Deadwood was a good thing.
"The other great thing was having a week off which was vert beneficial for us," he said. "Time to relax, not having to travel across the state after a couple of weekends in a row, so I was pleased with the way we came out."
STM will have another home challenge when it hosts Sturgis (4-7) Thursday at 6 p.m. The schedule doesn't get any easier for Spearfish, who hosts Rapid City Stevens (10-2) Friday.