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Lady Badgers down STAA, 53-31

(Matt Lehmann/Eagle Herald photo) Niagara’s Morgan Borchardt (13) battles for a rebound against Saint Thomas Aquinas Academy's Katie Jo Nox during Thursday's Marinette-Oconto Conference game in Marinette.

MARINETTE, Wis. — A big second half fueled the Lady Badgers of Niagara to a 53-31 victory over Saint Thomas Aquinas Academy in Thursday’s Marinette-Oconto Conference clash.

Niagara (6-2 M&O Conference, 6-3 overall) pressed the Cavalettes (0-7 M&O, 0-8 overall) defensively from the opening tip and made it difficult for STAA to even cross mid-court while forcing several turnovers and converting them into easy baskets.

Alyssa Cretton poured in 11 of her game-high 24 points in the first half while Morgan Borchardt added six and Abigail Wells knocked down a 3-pointer as the Lady Badgers built a 24-15 halftime lead and Niagara outscored the Cavalettes by a 29-16 margin in the second half to send STAA to its eight straight loss.

Points proved hard to come by early for STAA, with Livia Benson scoring off a layup and Jenna Maxwell canning a long two-pointer that made it a 9-4 game.

With the score 15-4, Benson hit a free throw to cut Niagara’s lead to 10, but the Lady Badgers tacked on free throws from Noelle Champagne and Borchardt, who also added a bucket of her own while Cretton tacked on a layup and a free throw, to take a 22-5 advantage with 5:08 remaining in the first half.

After putting the Cavalettes into the bonus with 3:00 left until halftime, Addison Pristelski swished a pair of free throws and proceeded to catch fire, scoring 10 points to close out the half, including a pair of corner-treys, while STAA’s defense held Niagara to just two points in the half’s waning minutes to make it a nine-point game at halftime.

STAA’s offense appeared poised to keep cooking as the second half began, with Benson scoring off a layup courtesy of a dish from Bryeli Smith, but Niagara answered back with a 19-0 run that pushed the score to 43-17 with 9:05 still to play.

For Niagara, behind Cretton’s 24 points was Borchardt with 11 and Wells with 10.

Niagara is back in action on Monday with a home game against Suring at 7:15 p.m.

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