BASSETT — A pair of 15-0 scoring runs can change any basketball game.
Especially when one team scores both of those runs.
O'Neill St. Mary's used a big run in the first half, and an even bigger one in the second half to knock off Chambers/Wheeler Central 77-39 in the Class D2-7 subdistrict title game Thursday at Rock County High School.
It was revenge for the top-seed Cardinals, which were upset by the second-seed Renegades in the Niobrara Valley Conference tournament on Feb. 6.
"Tonight, we came in with the idea that we had five seniors and we needed to play with heart and desire," St. Mary's coach Traci Berg said. "We wanted it for the whole team, but especially those seniors."
And those seniors played a huge role.
Sydney Hupp led the Cardinal charge with 16 points and nine rebounds, both team highs. Tracy Chvala added 14 points, and Riley Sibbel had 10 points, five assists and four steals.
Eight of Hupp's points came on consecutive possessions in the fourth quarter.
"We knew when she was out there that she had some foul trouble, but we still had to run our offense through her," Berg said. "She was fresh and ready to go in the fourth quarter."
The only other player for St. Mary's in double figures was junior Breanna Hedstrom, who had 10 points, including a 3-pointer to end the third quarter. Hattie Blumenstock had eight points and seven rebounds, including a bucket just before the halftime buzzer.
"It helps when we have so many girls who can come in and play," Hupp said. "This helps a bunch. It was a loud environment, and we can play from behind like we did in that first quarter."
St. Mary's responded with the run of the game after CWC knocked the gap down to two.
Hupp made two free throws, then Sibbel drove the lane for two off a steal before Blumenstock hit a 15 footer at the buzzer.
The second half was all Cardinals.
They started with jumpers on four-straight possessions -- all by different players -- as part of a 15-0 run and ended the third quarter when Hedstrom beat the buzzer from the far corner. That was part of a 26-3 run to end the game.
"They really play that pressure defense," CWC coach Laurel O'Malley said. "It got us out of what we wanted to do. We went away from what we talked about."
CWC grabbed control early, with Jacie Laetsch finding Regan Dierks for two at the high post before a three-point play by Dawn Klabenes made it 5-0 50 seconds in.
Sibbel helped engineer the run that got St. Mary's the lead. She tossed inside to Blumenstock for two, then stole the ball and found Hedstrom for two before she turned another steal into a driving layup for an 11-9 lead. They eventually got it to 29-19 just 2:20 into the second quarter after a Hupp basket to cap a 15-0 run.
But the Cardinals missed six-straight field goals, giving enough time for CWC to chop the lead down to 29-27 after two Klabenes steals turned into baskets.
The win puts St. Mary's, the defending Class D1 state champions, in a district final for the second-straight year.
"It never gets old, that's for sure," Hupp said.
CWC ................. 15 12 11 1 - 39
SMH .................. 21 14 21 21 - 77
CHAMBERS/WHEELER CENTRAL (21-4): Jacie Laetsch 2-7 3-4 7; Tami Jo Marcellus 4-7 0-1 8; Molly Lambert 2-6 2-3 6; Daneecia Thorin 0-2 0-0 0; Regan Dierks 3-4 0-0 6; Dawn Klabenes 5-9 2-3 12. Totals 16-35 7-11 39.
ST. MARY'S (21-3): Brianna Bauer 3-3 0-0 7; Breanna Hedstrom 3-6 2-2 10; Abby Hedstrom 0-1 0-0 0; Sydney Hupp 6-14 4-4 16; Tracy Chvala 6-7 0-0 14; Hattie Blumenstock 4-10 0-0 8; Taylor Colman 1-6 1-2 3; Riley Sibbel 4-8 0-0 10; Hailey Eiler 0-3 0-0 0; Emily Pongratz 1-1 1-1 3; Logan Connot 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 29-60 8-9 77.