Riders Stymie Cardinals

St. Marys’ Carly Caywood (1) drives in for a layup while New Bremen’s Kira Bertke (23) looks to block from behind during the first quarter of Tuesday’s non-league girls basketball game.
Sports Editor

The Riders are on a roll and it showed Tuesday.

St. Marys stymied New Bremen’s offense to just nine field goals — none in the second quarter — and the Riders’ offense had its best shooting performance of the season, all culminating to a 56-26 non-league girls basketball victory against New Bremen.

St. Marys (9-4) greeted the Cardinals (7-6) with a 9-0 lead and enjoyed another 9-0 run later in the quarter to lead 21-4. That lead extended to 31-4 with 2:48 remaining in the first half as part of 7-0 run and a 16-2 advantage overall during a 10:48 stretch. Before four starters called it a night, they bid-adieu to New Bremen with a transition bucket by Carly Caywood, a 3-pointer followed by a bucket by Kendall Dieringer and a trey from Lauren Cisco as time expired to put an exclamation point on a 51-17 lead and a dominating 24 minutes before bench players finished out the final eight minutes. 

“I thought in the first quarter we were converting really well,” Roughriders coach Jon Burke said. “Our press was able to bothering them and take them out of rhythm and I am proud of our defense.

“But honestly, I am more proud of our offense because that has been a thing that we have been working on all year — getting the ball in the paint, finishing strong and they did that really well tonight.”

Tuesday was the offensive outpouring St. Marys had been waiting for all season with a 21-of-46 (46%) clip from the field, 7-of-17 (41%) from 3-point range and tied a season-high in most points scored in a game, matching a Dec. 10 win at Delphos St. John’s.

On the defensive end, the Roughriders held a third opponent this season to fewer than 30 points en route to their sixth straight victory. They also recorded 21 steals as the Cardinals committed 15 turnovers, nearly as many field goal attempts (16). After a 5-0 start to the season, the Cardinals gave dropped six of their last eight games.

Burke’s game plan was to shut down the Cardinals’ pair of top scores in Madison Cordonnier (13.5 points per game) and Kaylee Freund (12.7 ppg) and force the other three shooters who combined for 16.8 ppg — averaging of 4.6 ppg among the three — to beat them.

“They did a nice job of shutting down Cordonnier and Freund,” Burke said. ‘We knew that No. 5 (Freund) can shoot and No. 12 (Cordonnier) can drive hard to the basket and our plan was to try to take them out of the game.”

Freund scored five points through the first three quarters and Cordonnier — a University of Findlay commit, a Division II program — did not register a point until the 3:52 mark of the fourth quarter off a transition bucket. 

Cisco was tasked with face guarding Cordonnier and the Riders senior was up to it. Ally Will’s defense also came in handy. 

“I think that is why Lauren made first-team all-league last year because she has shut down some really good players,” Burke added. “She’s had to shut down Lexi Jacobs, Jaidyn Hale and Emily Poling from the past so she has had tough matchups but she has a girl that she has a lock down, she locks down on her and she did that tonight.”

Another wrinkle to Burke’s game plan was to pace the floor.

St. Marys raced out to a 9-0 lead in 1:51 on a layup by Cisco, a layup and one for Caywood followed by back-to-back transition buckets off Cardinals’ turnovers. 

After Elli Roetgerman scored the first New Bremen points at 5:26, the Roughriders started their next 9-0 run on a bucket by Elena Menker off a turnover, followed by a kickout trey by Cisco after another turnover to push the lead to 14-2 for a 6-of-8 shooting clip at the 4:41 mark.

St. Marys’ run concluded on a Cisco bucket and a triple by Noelle Ruane to lead 19-2 with 1:32 left in the opening quarter.