The pressure of playing in a regional basketball tournament didn’t seem to bother freshmen Rylen Burgess and Jade Kihne.
The Cavalier ninth-grade guards combined for 29 points Monday. They led Cavalier past Park River/Fordville-Lankin 51-39 in the quarterfinals of the Region 2 girls high school basketball tournament at Betty Engelstad Sioux Center.
Burgess had a team-high 15 points. Kihne contributed 14 points while running the Tornadoes’ offense. Senior center Charlee Krieg provided an inside presence, registering a double double with 13 points and 14 rebounds.
“Jade and Rylen played with a lot of composure,’’ Cavalier coach Sandy Laxdal said. “They knocked down some big shots and got the ball down to our inside kids. And they’ve been doing that all year. Nothing seems to rattle them.’’
Cavalier, which was playing in the region quarterfinals for the first time since 2011, took control in the first quarter.
Burgess converted a Kihne steal into a fast-break layup and hit a 3-pointer from the left wing in an 8-0 Cavalier run to close the quarter. Krieg hit a layup to start the second quarter to cap a 10-0 run and give Cavalier an 18-4 lead.
“We executed our halfcourt offense and knocked down some shots,’’ Laxdal said. “I think it gave our young kids confidence, like, hey, we can do this.’’
Cavalier led 28-14 at halftime and 40-28 after three quarters. The Aggies trailed by 11 or more points the entire second half.
Offense was a struggle for the Aggies.
“It was a pretty poor shooting game,’’ PR/F-L coach Jonathan Berg said. “We’ve had games where we’ve struggled like that. It happens.
“We did a better job with our shot selection in the second half and made a few more shots. But then we couldn’t stop (Cavalier) on the other end.’’
Laxdal said Cavalier’s defense had something to do with the shooting struggles of PR/F-L.
“Defense and rebounding were big keys,’’ Laxdal said. “The last time we played (in a 60-46 PR/F-L win), they got a lot of offensive rebounds and hit shots. I think we forced them outside to shoot more. Their bread and butter is getting to the basket.’’
Gigi Brouillard’s 19 points led the Aggies, who finished with a 15-8 record.
Cavalier takes a 13-10 record into its 6 p.m. semifinal game against Grafton on Tuesday, Feb. 25.