Corsica-Stickney’s defense has been its calling card all season.
It was again on Thursday.
Corsica-Stickney led from start to finish in a dominating 76-37 win over Highmore-Harrold in the SoDak 16 on Thursday at the Corn Palace. The No. 1 Jaguars (23-0) will play in the Class B state girls basketball tournament on March 12-14 in Spearfish, meeting Irene-Wakonda in the opening round.
On Thursday, the Jaguars pulled away from the Pirates (13-10) early and never let the No. 16 seeded team feel comfortable all night on offense.
“All year we’ve complained about our defense and when we go back and look at the scores, I am like, ‘Well, maybe our defense wasn’t as bad as we thought it was,’” Corsica-Stickney coach Lorisa Broughton said. “But that’s how much we harp on the defense and I thought we did a nice job.”
The Jaguars used their size and athleticism to turn steals into transition baskets and held Highmore-Harrold senior Oakley Jandreau in check all night. Raven Barse drew the defensive assignment, but was whistled for two quick fouls in the first quarter. From there, Avery Broughton and her 5-foot-11 frame helped frustrate Jandreau.
Avery Broughton said the suffocating defensive effort starts with communicating on the floor.
“We talked well together,” Avery Broughton said. “We just play well defensively as a team and talking gets it done for us.”
The Jaguars forced 20 turnovers on 12 steals, scoring 22 points off turnovers.
While their defense was holding down the Pirates, Corsica-Stickney balanced scoring attack shined. Broughton led the Jaguars with 19 points, while Morgan DeLange and Morgan Clites put in 10 points apiece. Raven Barse scored nine points and Alexis Tilton scored eight points. Rachel Gerlach added seven points and Jenna Bamberg finished with six points.
“It’s been big all year,” Lorisa Broughton said about the balanced scoring. “We’ve seen junk (defense) and we have other people step it up and we are so hard to stop that way, because we have a lot of girls that can shoot. If one girl has a bad night, it’s nice that something else steps up.”
Alexis Tilton got the Jaguars going. The senior guard scored six points in the first quarter as Corsica-Stickney led 14-10. The lead ballooned to 36-17 at halftime and it stretched into the 30-point range for most of the third quarter.
The SoDak 16 contest was almost opposite from last year’s game for the Jaguars. They needed a fourth-quarter rally to put away Castlewood at the Corn Palace.
“I will take this one any day,” Lorisa Broughton joked about the lopsided victory.
The Jaguars will now shift their attention to the state tournament, where they finished in third place a year ago. Corsica-Stickney defeated Irene-Wakonda, 61-46, on Feb. 6.
“We are pumped for it,” Avery Broughton said about going back to state. “We are ready and we are ready to go have a good run.”
Corsica-Stickney 76, Highmore-Harrold 37
Highmore-Harrold: Letha Jessen 5-12 0-1 10, Courtney Moser 2-7 2-2 8, Kassie Hale 2-6 1-2 6, Grace Knox 2-7 0-0 5, Oakley Jandreau 1-7 2-3 4, Haley Husted 1-2 1-4 3, Alexis Roth 0-0 1-2 1. Totals 13-43 7-14 37.
Corsica-Stickney: Avery Broughton 7-15 3-8 19, Morgan DeLange 4-10 0-0 10, Morgan Clites 5-6 0-0 10, Raven Barse 4-11 1-2 9, Alexis Tilton 4-6 0-0 8, Rachel Gerlach 2-10 3-4 7, Jenna Bamberg 2-3 2-2 6, Casey Tolsma 1-1 0-0 2, Sutten Eide 1-1 0-0 2, Payton DeLange 1-2 0-0 2, Lauren Bruinsma 0-0 1-2 1. Totals 31-66 10-18 76.