Cardinals Crush Midgets & Advance in Regional Tournament

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Morgan Rock

The team joins together for a picture with their Conference Championship plaque.

Morgan Rock, Co-Editor-In-Chief

The high school girls’ basketball team has made quite the splash this season at South Shore. They started the season with some doubt and criticism about their abilities to carry out the legacy that is the Cardinals’ basketball team. With no question, the team put these rumors to rest with their hard work and pure determination this season. The team only took two conference losses this season, both to the Drummond LumberJills. However, both games were quite close, 42-46 and 43-44. Going into the Regional playoffs, the Cardinals took the number three seed. The first team they went up against was the Butternut Midgets, the fourteenth seed.

On Tuesday, Feb. 19th, the Cardinals hosted their first round of Regionals against the Midgets. Going into the game the Midgets were 1-14 in conference play, with their only win against Mercer 35-32. Despite the odds of the Cardinals taking the win, they had to come into the game well-prepared for anything. Head Coach Ryan Tiberg knew the best way to hold back the Midgets. He put one of his best defenders, Natalie Knaack, on Butternut’s best scorer, Gwen McCorrison. Despite the rest of the team remaining in a zone defense, Natalie stuck to McCorrison like glue, hardly allowing her the ball. The first half of the game was very fast paced with the Cardinals immediately full-court pressing the opposing team. The Cardinals played solid defense, making scoring for the Midgets quite difficult. The first half also showed the well-oiled machine that is the Cardinals’ offense. They made methodical plays and passes get wide open looks at the basket. Rylee Nicoletti, a senior, helped her team massively by gaining multiple fast break lay-ups. The Cardinals outscored the Midgets 37-11 in the first half.

The second half was much of the same for the Cardinals. Gwen McCorrison, for Butternut, did her best to try and keep her team afloat by driving in aggressively to the basket and supplying some extra points. The game continued to be a blowout with the Cardinals scoring 30 points to Butternut’s 10. The final score of the game was 67-21. The Cardinals had two players really show out for their team, Rylee Nicoletti and Chloe Sipsas. Combined the two leaders made up 42 of the 67 points on the board. Rylee Nicoletti, a senior, had 22 points, five steals, two assists, and one rebound.  Rylee commented on what allowed them to be so efficient that night, “We had a huge height advantage which created lots of inside opportunities and lots of rebounds. Those rebounds then contributed to our transition offense which gave us that extra edge in the game. Personally, I was efficient because of my team working hard in the paint and boxing out, which led to long passes down the court to me and easy lay-ups.” Chloe Sipsas had 20 points, seven rebounds, two steals, and one block and assist. Some more contributors were Natalie Knaack with 10 points, Taylor Nicoletti with 6 points, Aurora Grant with 5 points, and Tiiara Lahti with 4 points.

The Cardinals were also awarded their Conference Championship plaque that night once the game was finished. Their championship was decided on a Saturday, Feb. 16th, when Butternut was supposed to play the Cardinals for a regular season make-up game, but they forfeited knowing they would have to turn around and play them for the first round of Regionals only a few days after. The Cardinals ended the regular season 14-2, just above Hurley who were 13-3. On Friday, Feb, 22nd, the Cardinals will face the Siren Dragons at home at 7:00 p.m. for the second round of Regionals. We hope to see you there and good luck to the athletes and coaches in the playoffs!