NECEDAH — The Necedah girls basketball team heads into the new year playing some of its best basketball of the season.

The Cardinals (7-3) swept away their two opponents during the recent Necedah Holiday Classic, defeating the Pittsville Panthers (1-9) and the Port Edwards Blackhawks (7-4) during tournament play. They will carry a four-game winning streak into 2018 as it prepares to resume conference play.

Necedah kicked things off Thursday, Nov. 28 against Pittsville. The Cardinals came flying out of the gates in the first half, building a commanding 44-9 lead by halftime. The Panthers outscored them 22-19 in the second half, but the Cardinals easily cruised to a 63-31 win.

“First half we came out and played like we’re capable of playing,” Necedah coach Pete Lowery said. “We played pretty aggressive defense and hit some nice shots. Shot selection I thought was pretty decent. But I think overall, defensively is where we had the edge in the first half.”

Senior guard Lindsey Murphy led the way for Necedah with 18 points, five rebounds and five steals. Sophomore guard Danielle Becker posted 11 points and six steals and sophomore forward/guard Miah Hansen added 10 points, four rebounds and four assists as well for the Cardinals in the dominating win over Pittsville. Junior forward Amanda Piotrowski finished with 17 points for the Panthers, which included 3-pointers on back-to-back-to-back possessions in the second half.

Necedah continued its winning ways Friday, Nov. 29 against Port Edwards.

The first half was a bit of a struggle for the Cardinals, who only scored 18 points and trailed by one at the break. But in the second half, they flipped a switch.

Necedah built its lead up to as much as 17 at one point in the second half before Port Edwards junior point guard Kaitlyn Lyp hit several 3-pointers to cut into the deficit. Nevertheless, the Cardinals held on for a comfortable 53-45 victory.

“First half, we did not play real well,” Lowery said. “We played rather sloppy — too many turnovers, we weren’t patient on offense — and then in the second half, we got into more of a flow.”

Following up on her 18-point performance against Pittsville, Murphy had another big day for Necedah. She finished with 25 points, which included going 11 of 14 from the free-throw line to help put the win on ice late in the game.

“Lindsey took over,” Lowery said. “She hit some big shots for us down the stretch. She did quite well from the line … that was big for us.”

Hansen and Becker scored 13 and nine points, respectively as well for the Cardinals. For the Blackhawks, Lyp had 14 points and junior shooting guard Jade Martin added 10 points.

Elsewhere during the Necedah Holiday Classic, the Wautoma Hornets (7-2) went 2-0, defeating Port Edwards 54-44 Thursday, Dec. 28 and Pittsville 55-30 Friday, Dec. 29.

For the Cardinals (7-3 overall, 2-2 Scenic Bluffs), a key stretch of conference games lies ahead to kick off the new year. They will hit the road to face the Cashton Eagles (4-5, 3-1) and the Wonewoc-Center Wolves (1-8, 0-4) before returning home to host the New Lisbon Rockets (2-7, 0-5) to cap off the first go-around against Scenic Bluffs competition.

After that, Necedah hosts both the Brookwood Falcons (7-0, 4-0) and the Bangor Cardinals (8-2, 4-0), the two teams who beat them in conference play so far and are a combined 8-0 against SBC competition this season.

“Our next three conference games are very winnable games for us, and then we have Brookwood coming in,” Lowery said. “So we have a little bit of momentum and confidence — big-time confidence as we roll through the next three weeks and see where we’re at.”

The Cardinals resume play against Cashton Friday, Jan. 5 at 7:30 p.m.