It was not a sweet homecoming for the Blue Earth Area boys basketball team when they returned to the BEA gym for their first home game of the season last Tuesday night.
The Buccaneers turned the ball over 30 times in a 77-63 loss to St. James.
Saints defenders applied full court pressure and made advancing the ball difficult for the home team.
"We can't expect to win with so many turnovers," coach Seth Anderson says. "Handling the ball with pressure and seeing passes are something that we really need to work on."
The maroon and gold shot 63 percent from the floor, compared to only 36 percent for the visitors. The Bucs also out rebounded the Saints 29-22. Additionally, BEA only missed one free throw attempt going 14-for-15 from the line.
However, the Saints won the turnover battle and only turned the ball over seven times themselves compared to the previously mentioned 30 turnovers for the Buccaneers.
BEA had three players post double figures, led by Luke Monson who had 23 points, 10 rebounds (eight defensive) and two steals. Derek Johnson contributed 11 points and six assists, while Quinn Huisman scored 10 points and grabbed eight rebounds.
The first half was competitive and physical. BEA jumped out to a quick 14-7 lead with the help from guard Calvin Sanders.
Sanders hit two contested three-pointers capping a 9-0 run and forcing the guests to call their first timeout.
At the midway point, the Buccaneers held a 17-12 lead. That's when the Saints decided to really buckle down on defense and force turnovers with their full court traps.
After three consecutive possessions of not making it past half court, BEA went on another run. The Bucs outscored the Saints 10-0 in a span of two minutes.
However, the momentum building into halftime did not last.
Senior guard Ryan Menssen sparked the Saints with a hustle play, diving out of bounds to save the ball. Going the other way now, Menssen found himself on the finishing end of an easy layup.
St. James supporters were fired up and their enthusiasm helped propel more turnovers in the half court.
The Saints ended the half on a 14-5 run taking a 48-37 edge into the locker room.
The visitors came running out of the gate in the second half, scoring five unanswered points.
St. James continued to create problems for BEA and never let them get closer than 11. The lead soared to 17 with five minutes remaining in the game.
The maroon and gold could not overcome the early mistakes and careless turnovers, resulting in their second loss of the season.
Saints senior forward Zach Brandts led all scorers with 27 points and six rebounds (five offensive).
Menssen added 14 points, going three of seven from long distance.
BEA traveled to New Ulm on Dec. 6 for a matchup with the Eagles, a game played after the Faribault County Register deadline. Game results will be included in the next Register.
"It will take some more time, but everything will fall into place if we can correct some ball control aspects," Anderson says.