Dernbach sparks second-half run to clinch a win over Cardinals
By Jacob Heid
ALMOND — A big CWC-South showdown occurred between Almond-Bancroft girls’ basketball and Pacelli on Jan. 10. The Eagles used patience early to gain a double-digit advantage. The Cardinals hung around just enough throughout the game, but an 8-0 run sparked by sophomore Mya Dernbach clinched the 49-33 victory for Almond-Bancroft.
Each team got a feel for the other early in the game. A slower pace allowed Almond-Bancroft to deny the inside pass to Pacelli’s Amelia Jacoby and to dissect the Cardinals’ zone offensively. Almond-Bancroft played an inside-out game that gave them a 6-2 lead about four minutes in.
About midway through the first half, the home Eagles felt a momentum switch and changed gears. Almond-Bancroft looked for early shots while switching to a one-three-one zone on defense. That stretch put them up 27-14 with 3:56 left. Pacelli closed the half on a high note defensively, keeping the deficit within reach by halftime.
Junior Casey Vaughan pressured the perimeter at the top of the two-three zone. The Cardinals trailed 28-15 at the break. Almond-Bancroft’s Lexie Dernbach had 13 first-half points, while Ashley Strizel had six for Pacelli.
The Cardinals came out of the break as the more aggressive team. Pacelli dominated the glass, specifically on the offensive end. They threw the opening punch, closing the gap to 11, 30-19 with 13:46 left in the game. Momentum leaned towards the visitors early in the second.
Almond-Bancroft could not buy a bucket on offense due to the pesky defense by Pacelli. After scoring only two points in the first four minutes and change, the Eagles finally found a groove. Dernbach (Mya) drove aggressively to the hoop from the left wing, getting the contact and the bucket. She converted a three-point play that later sparked a gut-wrenching 8-0 run for Pacelli.
The Eagles rapidly extended the lead to 17, 38-21, with 9:40 remaining.
The Eagles never folded, countering again, this time with Jacoby to cut the deficit to 14, but the lead was now too large. The Dernbach sisters finished the game with a combined 25 points, 17 coming from Lexie. Sophomore Madalyn had 12 points in the win, getting a lot of touches down low. Senior Raegen Omernik had two threes on her way to eight points. The Eagles improved to 12-1 (5-1) as of Jan. 11.
Strizel led the charge for the Cardinals with 11 points in the loss. Jacoby finished in near double-figures with nine points. Pacelli fell to 4-7 (3-1) with the loss.