The Milbank Area Lady Bulldogs secured a berth to the newly designed Sweet 16 girls basketball tournament with a 51-40 victory over Aberdeen Roncalli Thursday, February 23. The number two-seeded Lady Bulldogs, now with a 15-7 record, and the number one-seeded Webster Area were the two winners from the Region 1A semi-final contests tonight in Sisseton.
The Sweet 16 round is scheduled for Friday, March 3. The Lady Bulldog’s opponent and location of the matchup is yet to be determined. The eight winners will advance to the State Class A high school girls basketball tournament set for March 9-11 in Brookings.
Milbank Area and Aberdeen Roncalli got out to a rocky start. Both teams struggled to get their shots to fall early on, but the Lady Bulldogs held the 5-4 advantage at the end of the first quarter. The battle continued into the second quarter. Roncalli cut into the deficit, but the locals remained ahead at 17-15 at the midway mark.
Milbank Area settled down and got to business in the second half. Gabbi Cummins sparked the Lady Bulldogs with four of her five three-pointers enroute to 15 points on the night. Milbank Area maintained the lead at 33-29 heading into the final stanza. The Lady Bulldogs then took charge. They poured in 18 points in the final quarter, while Roncalli scored 11 points, giving Milbank Area the 51-40 victory.
“I am so proud of the girls,” expressed Milbank Area head coach Brian Pauli. “They played their hearts out! It wasn’t pretty all the time but sometimes you have to win ugly! In the fourth quarter we were able to find Gabbi, who played battling illness, and she got hot and hit some big 3’s for us. Overall a great TEAM win!!”
Caryssa Mielitz led the Lady Bulldogs with 19 points, 13 rebounds, one steal and one blocked shot. Cummins followed closely with 15 points, two rebounds, one steal, one assist and two blocked shots. Mackayla Schuelke tallied seven points, four rebounds, six assists and three steals while Molly Rick added six points, three rebounds and one steal. Also scoring for Milbank Area were LaChasity Finley, two points and one rebound, and Mikaela Hoeke, two points, one assist and one steal. Other team totals included Taylor Thue, two rebounds, three assists and three steals, and Sophia Seffrood, two rebounds.
Milbank Area went 16-for-39 from the field for 41 percent shooting on the night. The Lady Bulldogs collected the victory with 30 rebounds, 17 steals, 11 assists, three blocked shots and 18 turnovers.
Roncalli made 33 percent of its shots from the field, making 14 of 42 attempts. The Cavaliers ended the game with 26 rebounds, 18 steals, three assists, two blocked shots and 17 turnovers.