O'Neill St. Mary's vs Stuart

The O'Neill St. Mary's Cardinals in the huddle during a game against the Stuart Broncos on Thursday in O'Neill. 

O'NEILL — The Class D No. 1 O’Neill St. Mary’s Cardinals couldn't be stopped in a 78-42 win over the No. 6 Stuart Broncos on Thursday night.

Aidan Hedstrom had 27 points and is now two points away from becoming St. Mary's' all-time leading scorer. The record is currently held by Adam Moon with 1,517. Hedstrom stands at 1,516.

“It’s really exciting,” he said. “A lot of late nights and early mornings go into it, and I’m just honored to be up there.”

Hedstrom scored the red and white’s first five points of the night and 12 in the first quarter alone. However, Stuart’s offense was able to find enough opportunities to keep it a four-point game after the period.

Two 3-pointers by Isaac Everitt helped St. Mary’s widen the deficit. Hedstrom and Adam Everitt chipped in four more points with Blake Benson adding two. As a team Stuart made just three field goals in the third.

Late in the first and early in the second quarter, Stuart began to press what was becoming a fast-moving Cardinals offense. In response, St. Mary’s relied more on fundamentals, specifically attacking the hoop and creating ball fakes.

“They really come at you hard,” coach Luke Bulau said. “We moved it around from the middle to the outside and knocked down some shots.”

Any hope of a comeback coming out of halftime was quickly put away by the Cardinals in the third quarter. Following four points by Hedstrom to open things up, the red and white hit four 3-pointers in the latter half of the period.

“We ran into a buzzsaw tonight,” Stuart coach John Miller said. “We played good defense and get them maybe to take a shot they didn’t want to take, but then they’d get an offensive board, stick it back in and it just seemed like one thing after another.”

As a team, the Cardinals shot 52% from the field and 48% from beyond the arc. It was their seventh straight game with 65 or more points as a team.

Bulau credits ball movement and selflessness for another night of big numbers.

“Those guys trust in each other, they trust in themselves,” he said. “They kicked it out and shot very, very well tonight.

“We have really balanced scoring, which is something that I just can’t say enough about our guys. They don’t care who gets the points tonight as long as we get the win.”

St. Mary’s also had 29 rebounds, 11 on the offensive end and 11 from Adam Everitt alone.

Both teams return to action on Tuesday in the quarterfinals of the Niobrara Valley Conference tournament. O’Neill St. Mary’s will face either Neligh-Oakdale or Summerland while Stuart will host either West Holt or Niobrara/Verdigre.

Stuart 16 7 12 7 — 42

St. Mary’s 20 16 22 20 — 78

STUART (13-4): Cameryn Sattler 1 0-0 2; Schuyler Mustin 4 1-1 10; Ryan Steinhauser 5 0-0 10; Hunter Tubbs 3 0-0 6; Ben Paxton 3 0-0 6; Anthony Heiser 3 0-0 8. Totals 19 1-1 42.

O’NEILL ST. MARY’S (13-3): Isaac Everitt 6 1-1 18; Tate Thompson 3 0-0 9; Dalton Alder 1 0-0 3; Blake Benson 2 2-3 7; Charles Barlow 3 0-0 6; Joe Wiese 1 0-0 2; Adam Everitt 3 0-1 6; Aidan Hedstrom 10 6-6 27. Totals 30 9-11 78.

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