Four Saints scored in double figures giving the No. 7 ranked team in class AA the firepower needed to work past the winless Buccaneers.
“We just played a tremendous team,” BEA head coach Gary Holmseth says. “They are ranked for a good reason.”
The Bucs made the Saints work for the victory with a strong start shooting the basketball. After a Brandyn Olsen three-pointer and a Steven Plocker putback, BEA commanded a 12-8 lead midway through the first half.
St. Peter countered with a seven-point run to establish an advantage that would last for the remainder of the game.
With two minutes to go in the half, Dallas Barslou nailed a trey from the top of the key dropping the St. Peter lead to three points, but that’s as close as BEA would get.
As time expired in the half, the Saints put in a lay up securing a six-point lead heading into intermission.
St. Peter played suffocating man-to-man defense opening the second half making it difficult for BEA to get clean looks at the basket.
“The first three minutes of a half are critical,” Holmseth says. “In the first half, we won the first three minutes. They won in the second half.”
The Saints ballooned their lead to 40-23 opening the half and held BEA scoreless until Steven Plocker made a free-throw at the 12:38 mark. Nearly six minutes had elapsed until the Bucs scored the elusive point.
“You can’t do that against good teams, let alone great teams,” Holmseth says.
With 10:42 remaining, BEA connected on their first field goal of the half. The basket signaled the start of a mini-run by the Bucs.
Sam Lee scored two baskets in a row inside the paint and Olsen made a three to close the gap to 48-40 with 7:44 remaining.
The Saints withstood the rally and made necessary free throws down the stretch to hold on for a 12-point victory.
A bright spot for BEA was the play by Plocker who scored nine points, seven of which came in the second half.
“Steven was huge for us off the bench,” Holmseth says. “He battled on both ends of the floor.”
Barslou led the Bucs in scoring with 15 points including four threes.
Lee was the only other Buc to reach double figures, dropping 11 points from down low.
After the game, Holmseth, said he was proud of the way the kids battled, despite facing their best opponent yet of the young season.
With the loss, BEA falls to 0-2 in South Central Conference play.