CADOTT — The Stanley-Boyd girls basketball team has been close.
A few times.
But the Orioles didn’t leave anything to chance on Tuesday evening, getting a lead and keeping it on the way to the team’s first victory of the season in a 47-35 win against Cadott.
Arianna Mason led all scorers with 21 points for the Orioles (1-3, 1-1), 12 coming in the first half as Stanley-Boyd built a 23-13 lead.
“We had a really strong game from Arianna,” Stanley-Boyd coach Alison Becker said. “I thought she was a real strong leader for us tonight and was tough, rebounding and getting buckets when we needed them.”
Jada Kowalczyk had a team-high nine points for Cadott (2-2, 1-1).
Stanley-Boyd closed the first half on a 11-2 run, turning a 1-point lead at 12-11 into a double-digit halftime advantage. Mason scored the final seven points of the half. The Orioles also hit the offensive glass hard, earning several second and third chances.
“Brooke Noonan came off the bench and was scrapping around on the offensive boards and a couple others were,” Becker said of the rebounding. “That was big.”
Cadott closed the gap to four early in the second half on back-to-back 3-pointers by Jenna Sedlacek, but that would be as close as the Hornets got as Mason responded with the next five points.
“We’re still trying to find our identity on offense and it’ll get better,” Cadott coach Dave Hazuga said. “Sometimes if maybe a few more shots fall you get into a rhythm. We found a little bit of rhythm in the second half and got a spark.”
Stanley-Boyd lost its first three games of the season, the first two by a combined seven points to Ladysmith and Greenwood before a late-half run by McDonell keyed a 76-56 loss last Friday.
“They’re a really good team,” Hazuga said of Stanley-Boyd. “I know they were 0-3, but they played three really good teams. They’re one of the best teams in the conference when I look at them. They’ve got everything.”
The win for the Orioles is the program’s 14th in a row against Cadott. The last Hornets victory over Stanley-Boyd was a 33-30 win on Jan. 5, 2012.
Both teams return to league action on Friday as Stanley-Boyd plays at Thorp and Cadott is at Osseo-Fairchild.
The recipe for success
Mason entered the season with by far the most returning experience for the Orioles.
A four-year varsity player for Becker, Mason averaged 12.7 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game a season ago for the Orioles and is counted on to be the facilitator for the young, but talented squad.
Performances like Tuesday night showed the senior has the ability to be just that.
“That’s what we’ve been looking at, how it’s going to go,” Becker said of the formula in Tuesday’s win. “She (Mason) did a really good job telling the girls we are finishing tonight. In our first and second game we were leading in both and ended up losing. It was nice to see the girls finish and get the job done tonight.”
Tuesday’s game marked the first of six consecutive road contests for the Orioles. Stanley-Boyd’s next home game is Dec. 28 against Flambeau.
One of the keys to success early in the season for the Hornets has been the 3-point shot. Cadott hit 10 3-pointers in its season-opening win over Eau Claire Immanuel on Nov. 13 and made eight in a 48-40 loss to perennial conference kingpin Eau Claire Regis last Friday.
The Hornets were held to a season-low five in Tuesday’s defeat, with three of those coming in a 3-minute stretch in the second half as the team closed the gap.
“It comes and it goes,” Hazuga said of the 3-point shots. “We’re still getting our inside looks and we’re trying to get our inside touches and we just try to play off that.”
Sedlacek and Kaitlyn Tice each had six points for Cadott.
She’s a freshman
Freshman Lily Hoel added 10 points in the win for Stanley-Boyd, her fourth double-digit scoring contest in four games played.
The 5-foot-11 forward scored 20 points in Stanley-Boyd’s 52-49 loss to Greenwood on Nov. 27 and is one of an impressive group of younger players for the Orioles.
“She has got a good feel for the game when people collapse on her on the inside, looking to kick it. She’s got good timing on that,” Becker said of Hoel. “Running the floor, she can get up and lead that break. She’s got some potential and she’s a fun player to coach. We’re excited for her future.”
Hoel’s mother Shannon Schoch played at Stanley-Boyd in the 1990s and held the school’s career scoring record until Jamie Reit set a new mark earlier this decade. Schoch went on to play collegiately at the University of Evansville, the same college Becker played at after graduating from Clayton.
Off and running
A win Tuesday would’ve matched Cadott’s best four-game start to a season since 2006-07 when the Hornets also started 3-1. But after dominant nonconference wins over Eau Claire Immanuel and Cornell followed by competitive defeats to the Ramblers and Orioles, Hazuga and his team are encouraged with how they’ve played early on in the season.
“We’re still trying to find our true identity, maybe moreso on the offensive end,” Hazuga said. “Obviously that’s going to get better. The biggest thing I’m noticing now after these games is I believe we’re a competitive team this year. That might mean you lose heartbreaking games, but I feel we can compete so our biggest positive is we give ourselves a chance every night because we’re an improved team from last year and that’s all these girls have worked hard to do is be an improved team from last year.”