One thing was certain entering the second half for St. Cloud Cathedral: despite being ahead 36-24, they needed to cut down on their turnovers and start boxing out on the defensive glass if they wanted to disallow any late rally by Becker.
Their struggles in those categories almost cost them a key win on the road.
The Crusaders of Cathedral opened the first half red-hot with four quick threes. They moved the ball very well against the Bulldogs man to man, as the drive and kick game for Cathedral worked to perfection to space out the floor. They picked up assists on each of their 13 first half makes. Abbey Medelberg started off the opening half on fire from the bench, as she buried her first 5 shots including two three point bombs. She led all players going into the break with 12 points. If there was one positive for the Bulldogs, it was that they led in two major “hustle stat” categories: forced turnovers and offensive rebounds, as they forced 12 Cathedral turnovers in the first half.
To open the second half, Becker found a much more efficient defense, incorporating a full court pressure that threw off the rhythm of the Cathedral halfcourt offense. Cathedral committed 12 second half turnovers and shot just 31% in the period. These offensive struggles allowed the Becker offense to pick up their efficiency, leaning on junior center Madi Kerzman as she poured in 12 points in the half, largely due to her prowess on the low block and on the offensive glass. The Cathedral 2-3 zone struggled mightily to keep the Bulldogs off the offensive glass, and combined with their shooting struggles allowed Becker to bring the Cathedral lead down to two possessions. However, the Crusaders got an incredibly clutch performance from junior Kate Tomczik. The guard scored 14 of Cathedral’s 26 second half points. Down the stretch, the Crusaders were able to deny the Bulldogs anything closer than a two possession lead. The Crusaders knocked down their free throws, and seniors Julia Meyer and Morgan Prom each had big steals with less than 30 seconds to go. Cathedral’s free throws closed out the game for a final score of 62-55
Final: St. Cloud Cathedral 62, Becker 55.
By The Numbers:
Points: Tomczik 17
Rebounds: Meyer 9
Assists: Megan Voit 6
Steals: Tomczik 5
Blocks: Hallie Hupf 2
Points: Kerzman 16
Stats taken courtesy of Thomas Breach. Photo of Becker gym taken by Thomas Breach, © Thomas Breach 2017.