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Jaguars off to roaring start

CORSICA — Off to an impressive 9-1 start, the Corsica-Stickney girls basketball team is starting to turn the corner.

Ten games into the season, the Jaguars have already surpassed last year's win total as the team went 8-13 in the 2016-17 season. Taking a step forward has been the goal for the Jaguars and head coach Lorisa Broughton said the team is benefitting from both depth and experience.

"We are working and building towards that next level," Broughton said. "Last year, we lost a lot of close games. We were right there in a lot of those games and now we've won those games. That's kind of been the difference. It's been a really good team effort."

After falling to Avon, which is ranked No. 5 in the latest South Dakota Prep Media poll, 50-38 on Dec. 12, Corsica-Stickney has reeled off seven wins in a row. The Jaguars have won five of those games by more than double digits.

Courtney Menning has led the way for the Jaguars, scoring in double figures in each of the past six games. The 5-foot-8 junior nailed the game-winning 3-pointer in Corsica-Stickney's 33-32 win over Mount Vernon/Plankinton on Dec. 14.

"Offensively, we have Courtney Menning, who has played a long time and has a lot of experience at the varsity level," Broughton said. "She's our leader out there and now we have girls stepping up and supporting her. We've had (more than) 10 girls score in a game this year. We are a little more balanced this year and that's helped take some of the pressure off of Courtney."

Broughton pointed to freshman Raven Barse, seventh-grader Avery Broughton, eighth-grader Rachel Gerlach and sophomore Alexis Tilton as a few players who have played key roles for the Jaguars this season. Broughton poured in 20 points in a win over Platte-Geddes on Jan. 2, while Barse and Gerlach have each hit double figures in multiple games.

As a team, Corsica-Stickney is averaging 50.1 points per game, while allowing an average of 32.2 points per game. The Jaguars have held opponents under 30 points four times this year.

"We really try to focus on our defense," coach Broughton said. "We go hard and we can throw a lot of girls in there. We expect them to go hard the whole time they are in there."

Heading into the second half of the regular season, Corsica-Stickney wants to prove itself against stiffer competition, starting today at Ethan.

"We want to go out there and play our best ball. We want to be competitive," coach Broughton said. "They've played at this level for a long time. It's a good measuring stick to see where we are and what we need to continue to work on."