Corsica-Stickney’s experience pays dividends as Jaguars outlast White River, advance to Class B semifinals

Avery Broughton led the Jaguars with 21 points and 11 rebounds.

Corsica-Stickney's Casey Tolsma makes a left-hand layup over White River's Rhea Tucker during the first half of a girls Class B quarterfinal game Thursday, Mar. 10 in Watertown.
Branden Hull / Republic

WATERTOWN — In a rematch of the 2021 Class B state semifinals, Corsica-Stickney trailed for three quarters, but its exceptional play in the fourth propelled the Jaguars to the state semifinals once again — the third time in the last four years.

Outscoring No. 5-seeded White River 16-4 across the final eight minutes, No. 4-seeded Corsica-Stickney (21-3) managed to take its first lead of the game and hold off the Tigers (18-4) for a 49-43 win in the Watertown Civic Arena on Thursday. The Jaguars play eighth-seeded Viborg-Hurley in the Class B state semifinals Friday at 6 p.m.

Corsica-Stickney didn’t take its first lead of the game until there was 1:42 remaining in the game and head coach Lorisa Broughton said tournament experience was the biggest difference in the final moments of the contest.

“Experience played a big part down the stretch because a lot of our girls have played in so many games,” Broughton said. “They wanted it and in those last couple huddles, that’s what they were saying. They just stepped it up and became a little more aggressive.”

In the final two minutes of the game, Corsica-Stickney outscored White River 8-2. Morgan Clites made a left-handed layup to give the Jaguars their first lead of the game at 43-41, then Rachel Gerlach made another layup on the following possession to extend the lead to four. Corsica-Stickney made six of its last eight free throws down the stretch to pull through with the win.


Avery Broughton led the team with 21 points, 11 rebounds and two steals. She finished as the only player in double-figures for the Jaguars, scoring 15 of her 21 points in the second half.

Corsica-Stickney's Avery Broughton pulls up for a mid-range jump shot over White River's Kelsey Morrison during the second half of a girls Class B quarterfinal game Thursday, Mar. 10 in Watertown.
Branden Hull / Republic

White River leading scorer Maleighya Estes scored 10 of her 22 points in the third quarter to keep the Tigers afloat with a six-point lead after three, but fouled out in the fourth quarter and only managed to score two points.

One of the Jaguars best defenders, Payton DeLange, had the assignment of defending Estes. Once DeLange picked up her fourth foul in the third quarter, Clites stepped up to the challenge and was more motivated than ever for the assignment. She defended Estes hard and managed to take her out of her flow in the fourth quarter before the senior fouled out in the final minutes of action.

Clites said she desperately wanted to avenge the loss from last postseason, when Estes hit a jump shot with 2.8 seconds left to propel White River past Corsica-Stickney into the championship game.

“For most of us, this win was revenge and redemption for what happened last year,” Clites said. “We didn’t want to go down without fighting as hard as we could. We worked as hard as possible and were motivated to do whatever we could to get this win.”

Clites and Gerlach finished with nine points each and Casey Tolsma finished with five points.

Outside of Estes’ 22 points, Tana Bear Heels scored eight points and Kelsey Morrison scored five points for the Tigers, who will play No. 1 seed Aberdeen Roncalli in the consolation semifinals.

Corsica-Stickney was originally planning on playing Roncalli in the second round of the state tournament, but after Viborg-Hurley upset the Cavaliers 69-58, Lorisa Broughton said she isn't completely surpised at the upset and excepts another tight game Friday night.


“When we were looking at the matchups, we said Viborg-Hurley could cause some issues for them and they came out and played with a lot of heart and intensity early,” Broughton said. “They were not scared, they were fearless and what they did was impressive so we’re going to have to match that tomorrow and be ready to play.”

Branden is a sports reporter that graduated from Purdue University Northwest with a bachelor's degree in communications and a focus in journalism. He joined the Mitchell Republic in June 2021 and covers prep and collegiate athletics. He was also the lead on the Mitchell Republic Full-Court Press, providing a weekly web-exclusive look at high school basketball throughout all of South Dakota. Branden can be reached at and found on Twitter at @bhullreports.
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