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The gamble paid off for the Kadoka Area girls' basketball team in its last two matchups with New Underwood.

The plan, according to head coach Dylan Moro, was to pack it in and hope the Tigers don't go crazy from the outside.

The Kougars again did just that, stopping New Underwood 45-28 Saturday night in the Region 7B tournament game at Goodell Gymnasium on the campus of South Dakota School of Mines.

With the win, Kadoka Area now advances to next week's Round of 16.

"They are such a disciplined team," Moro said of New Underwood. "Their size is great and they are well coached. You kind of gamble with giving up some outside shots sometimes and hope they don't beat you up in the paint too bad. Tonight it kind of went our way in that fashion."

The Kougars did a good job on the New Underwood inside play, led by Jaedyn Finkbeiner and Cerrington Jones, who combined for just 16 points — Finkbeiner had just six points and Jones 10.

"Jaedyn Finkbeiner is such a great player inside out, so you try to find other ways," Moro added. "We just tried to limit what they can do."

From the start it was obvious that it was going to be a low-scoring affair, with the Kougars up 10-9 at the end of one and just 19-15 at halftime.

Kadoka Area, however, used their defense to create some offense and  controlled the second half, bumping their lead to over 20 on a couple of occasions. The Kougars used the strong inside play of Lavin Bendt and timely 3-pointers by Tyra Fugate and Alyssa Civitak.

It was the rubber match of the three-games series between the schools, with New Underwood winning in overtime 46-41 at home and Kadoka Area rolling to a 61-38 win on its home court.

Moro said it often just comes down to matchups in these situations, and conditioning, something they have been preparing for this time of the season..

"The first time we played them in their house, we were in foul trouble and it went into overtime, and they beat us," he said. "We knew we had to adjust and play our style better. We were able to do that. Our pressure didn't necessarily hurt them, but over the course of the game maybe it wore them down a little and gave us a little energy."

Bendt led Kadoka Area with 12 points and Civitak added 10. Fugate, with three second-half 3-pointers, was right behind with nine points.

Kadoka Area, 15-6, will go into the Round of 16 excited but cautious.

"Just to get to this point is really good. We'll soak this one in and get ready for next week," Moro said. "The Round of 16 is an interesting thing. I think at this point it is going to be (unbeaten) Faith. That is a bummer if two West River teams meet and one won't get to state. Whoever it is, we'll play the best that we can and play our style and have some fun."

Jae Hanks also scored 10 points for New Underwood, which finished the season at 17-5.

Lower Brule outlasts Wall 

The Lower Brule girls' basketball team has never been as far as they have come this season, and they hope to go even further with one more win to get to the state tournament.

The Lady Sioux, 17-5, are one win away from state, as they held off Wall 55-48 Saturday night in the Region 7B tournament game at Goodell Gymnasium on the campus of South Dakota School of Mines.

In a tight contest throughout, Lower Brule scored the game's final seven points after the Eagles had tied it at 48-48 with 2 minutes, 48 seconds to play.

After playing man-to-man defense the entire year, Lower Brule coach Brian Laroche said they had to switch to some zone to combat the bigger Wall lineup.

"That helped out big time," Laroche said. "It has been a fight all year for our big girls to be big girls. We don't have the solid size and they stepped up big time."

It worked well Saturday, as the Lady Sioux caused havoc, not only with their zone and box-one, but with a full court press.

"At the end of games you want to put that press on them when you know it is going to put pressure on them," he said. "It worked."

Wall looked good early and led by nine late in the second period before the the Lady Sioux closed the first half with six straight points to cut the lead to 22-19.

The two teams traded several leads throughout the third, and it was tied at 36-all heading into the final eight minutes. Tied at 48, Maleighya Estes's drive for a layup and Bariah LaRoche's three-point play gave Lower Brule some breathing room, and a layup by Kharmon Wells closed the scoring.

Estes led all scorers with 20 points and Molly Jandreau added 11 points for Lower Brule.

Cooper McLaughlin led the Eagles with 17 points, followed by Kyla Sawvell with 16 and Mercede Hess with 10. Wall finished the season at 15-7.

"This is the second time we even won a first-round game," LaRoche said. "It's our first time being the No. 1 seed."

It's now the first time the Lady Sioux have been one game away from the state tournament.

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Sports Editor

Sports reporter for the Rapid City Journal.