Lady Cavaliers focused on winning another state title

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RAPID CITY, S.D. -

St. Thomas More has dominated Class 'A' girls basketball for the last several years. In fact, the Cavaliers have won five of the past six state titles.

However, the last state championship may have been one of the most gratifying for veteran head coach Brandon Kandolin.

Last March, the Cavaliers became the first team in Class 'A' to win four straight state titles, despite losing one of their top players Dru Gylten in the state semi-finals to a knee injury.

This year, the Cavs are focused on winning another state championship.

St. Thomas More returns a core group of players including five seniors. However, unlike the past several years, the Cavaliers lack a primary play-maker this season.

But that's not a concern for coach Kandolin.

"We don't have the Dru Gylten that can create and involve other teammates or at times finish on her own," coach Brandon Kandolin said. "We don't have the Alexys Swedlund that can knock down the 3s and set up plays for her. Again, I think this team is very well balanced. That's going to be our thing this year is we're well balanced. We've got five, six, seven, eight girls that are very fundamentally sound. Very physically strong."

"There's definitely a target on our back," STM senior forward Aislinn Duffy said. "There's no question about that. But I don't think we feel as much pressure about the past years because we lose seniors every year and we're a brand new team this year. So we need to just kind of think about this year and not think about what we've done in the past. Because it's a new team. This team didn't do that. We're just going to go out and do as well as we can this year."

The Cavaliers open the season on Saturday, December 9 at Sioux Falls Washington followed by a game in Alliance, Nebraska on December 14.

St. Thomas More will host a classic at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center on December 28-29 featuring Aberdeen Roncalli, Belle Fourche and Madison.

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