It wasn’t easy, but the Dell Rapids St Mary Cardinal boys won their first game in the Region 4B tournament, 57-42, over the Chester Flyers at home on Tuesday, March 2nd.
Things seemed to be headed towards an easy victory for the Cardinals after the first quarter, but the craziness that can happen in the post season made itself known. St Mary was able to get out to a nice 17-5 lead at the end of the first quarter. Chester, however, kept it close the rest of the game. The Cardinals were only able to add one point to their lead by halftime, 30-17.
The Cardinals opened the third quarter on an 8-3 run for a 38-20 lead, the largest of the game, with 4:55 to play in the quarter. The Flyers responded with a 13-5 run of their own to cut the lead down to 10 points, 43-33, heading into the fourth quarter. Chester got the lead down to eight points, 47-39, with 5:25 to go in the game, but Ashaun Roach-Valandra came up big for the Cardinals in the fourth quarter. He scored 12 of his game-high 22 points in the final quarter to help St Mary hang on for the win.
St Mary finished the game shooting 41% (21-51) from the field, 42% (8-19) from three-point area, and 50% (7-14) from the free-throw line. Chester was 30% (14-47) from the field, 33% (7-21) from three-point area, and 32% (7-22) from the free-throw line. The Cardinals out-rebounded Chester 40-27 and forced 11 Flyer turnovers.
Roach-Valandra had 22 points, 16 rebounds, and two steals. Connor Libis had 20 points, four rebounds, three assists, and two steals. Sam Palmer also had double-figures with 10 points along with three steals and two blocks. John Pica had three points and five rebounds, and Max Herber finished with two points and seven rebounds. Chester was led by Ashton Olivier with 15 points and Brock Wages with 13 points.
St Mary improves to 17-4 on the season. The win also gave the Cardinals a perfect 8-0 record at home on the year. St Mary will play Hanson in a SoDak-16 qualifying game against Hanson on Friday, March 5th at the Mitchell Corn Palace. Tip-off is scheduled for 4:00 p.m., and the game can be seen on Big Sioux Media.