It’s early, but the Roncalli girls basketball team continues to demonstrate why it’s being mentioned as one of the elite teams in Indiana.
Under second-year coach Stan Benge, the Class 4A No. 10 Rebels defeated host Whiteland, 78-50, Tuesday night.
Winners of four straight, the Rebels improved their overall record to 5-1 while the Warriors dropped to 3-4.
Leading the way for Roncalli was junior forward Lindsey Corsaro with a game-high 25 points, including three 3-pointers to go with a game-leading 13 rebounds. Also in double figures were sophomore guard Paige Saylor and junior forward Rachel Titzer with 14 and 10 points, respectively.
Backcourt pressure by the Rebels from start to finish forced the Warriors into 16 first-half turnovers, allowing Roncalli to penetrate the lanes for easy baskets while Corsaro did most of her work from outside.
Corsaro, a University of Kentucky commit, scored the Rebels first eight points of the game.
Entering Tuesday’s game, Corsaro had 953 career points in 56 games. With 25 against Whiteland, she needs only 22 points to reach 1,000 career points, which will make her the 10th player in program history to achieve this.
What really hurt the Warriors early on were first-quarter fouls, sending Roncalli to the free throw line for the one-and-bonus with 3:38 remaining.
“That’s one of the things that’s been our Achilles heal. We’re still learning how to handle pressure,” third-year Whiteland coach Kyle Shipp said.
“We’re still learning how to make plays when people press us in a full-court press, be it a man or full-court press, and really continuing to learn how to take care of the basketball.”
In playing one of the best teams on the Whiteland schedule, Shipp said at this level you’ve got to be ready to play night-in and night-out no matter who the opponent is.
“We’ve already played a team that’s ranked higher than Roncalli (Center Grove) and later on we’ll have to go up against Columbus North, so our schedule is very tough. But tip your hat to them. They’re a very good team,” Shipp said.
“We tried to do some things to get Corsaro slowed down a bit, but she had a great game. I’m very proud of how hard we played and some of the runs we got in that first half, but the third quarter the game kind of got away from us.”
The Rebels led at the half 40-25, but in the third period, Roncalli outscored Whiteland 24-7 to take a 64-32 advantage.
And by game’s end, the Rebels got to the free throw line twice as many times as the Warriors.
Topping Whiteland with 14 points was freshman center Mackenzie Blazek, who had a team-high seven rebounds. Junior Kate White added 11.
Whiteland will be at home against Mid-State Conference rival Plainfield on Saturday.