HARTFORD, S.D. (KELO) — It will be a battle of the top two teams in class ‘A’ girls basketball on Friday, January 15 when #2 West Central hosts top-ranked St. Thomas More in the KELOLAND.com Game of the Week.
St. Thomas More is coming off their biggest win of the season, following a five point win over ‘AA’ top-ranked Sioux Falls Washington.
“I found out that they were ready to play. I think that, getting ready to prepare for that game, knowing that we have to travel and knowing we have to face a great team,” St. Thomas More head coach Brandon Kandolin said. “Overall, being able to stay in it and compete and knock down some big shots in some big times, those were huge keys to us to stay in that game.”
The Cavalier offense is scoring more than 62 points per game this season and much of that success can be credited to the teams versatility.
“The ability to play both inside and outside, I think makes us a little more versatile,” Kandolin said. “It gives us multiple ways to score and I think that’s important. We can’t rely on one thing and we can’t rely on one person in Haleigh (Timmer) to do everything.”
St. Thomas More has been led this season by one of the top players in state, Haleigh Timmer. The future SDSU Jackrabbit is scoring an impressive 20 points per contest this year.
“She’s great and not just on the floor, but in the classroom, in the hallways, she just has a great personality,” Kandolin said. “She’s the kid that you love to coach and certainly the skillset that she has in the gymnasium, she’s so fun to watch.”
Now the Cavs will turn their attention to the second ranked and well coached West Central Trojans.
“They’re a team that is very aggressive, a team that is well coached, they’re disciplined and do things the right way,” Kandolin said. “It’s going to be a challenge and there’s no doubt it’s going to be a challenge.”
West Central is off to a strong 7-1 start this season, thanks to a balanced offense that is scoring more than 60 points per contest.
“That’s just kind of how we play. Our team, I would think is hard to prepare for, because you don’t know who is going to have their night. It makes it harder for preparation,” West Central head coach Joe Caffrey said. “We like that and our balance is good, I think.”
While the offense has been good, it is the Trojan defense that has been even more impressive, allowing less than fifty points per game.
“We just really stress that it is one thing that has to be consistent, because there is going to be night where we can’t find the bottom of the net and we’ll need to be able to hang our hat on our defense and really bring the intensity there,” Caffrey said.
Coach Caffrey will look to keep their game plan simple as the Trojans will be playing their third game in four days.
“We try to keep our game plans very simple. I want them hitting shots and being focused and still be able to bring the energy,” Caffrey said. “This week is usually tough, where you’re trying to balance keeping the players fresh and also giving them a good enough workout to prepare for some of these games.”
Discipline with be the their focus as West Central prepares to play top-ranked St. Thomas More on Friday night.
“We’ve really got to be able to bring it in a game like that. Our closeouts on their shooters are important and then they just play unreal defense,” Caffrey said. “We’ll just have to be disciplined and things probably won’t open up as fast for us on offense as they have against some of these other teams, because they are very athletic and definitely have some length to them.”
The Cavaliers and Trojans will cross paths on Friday in Hartford. Tip-off is set for 7:00 p.m. and you can watch the game on KELOLAND.com.