It was a tale of two halves as the Blue Earth Area Buccaneers couldn't avoid a three game losing skid.
BEA fell to Le Sueur-Henderson last Tuesday night, 83-77.
Senior forward Luke Monson continued his hot streak and put up 40 points, on 13-for-21 shooting and registered 13 rebounds in the losing effort.
Derek Johnson hit four three-pointers en route to 14 points and six assists. Conor Barnett added seven points and seven assists.
"We didn't end up winning any loose balls or rebounds when we needed to," coach Seth Anderson says.
Bailey Olson started the scoring off with a three-pointer putting BEA up early.
Monson helped spark the maroon and gold to a 6-0 run expanding their lead to 18-9
With seven minutes remaining in the half, Johnson hit a three giving the Buccaneers their largest lead, 31-16.
Monson put the Bucs up 10 going into halftime. He put up 18 of his 40 points in the opening session.
Le Sueur came out matching baskets with BEA, but soon went on an 8-0 run narrowing the lead to 56-49.
The maroon and gold answered right back with a 7-0 run of their own, expanding their lead to 14, 63-49 with seven minutes remaining.
Giants guard Tremaine Wadley made a jumper narrowing the lead to four, 69-65.
According to Anderson, the Giants applied an aggressive 1-1-2-1 trap when the game got close.
"We started turning the ball over against their press and we lost all of our momentum," he says.
Down the stretch, the Bucs committed five turnovers, missed crucial free throws and missed their last five field goals.
The Giants scored the games last 16 points and came away with the victory.
Despite shooting 54 percent from the field, BEA was outscored 48-32 in the second half.
Le Sueur was paced by Wadley, who led five Giants in double figures with 21 points.
USC 77, BEA 76 OT
Blue Earth Area senior forward Luke Monson wrote a new chapter of excellence and brought some excitement to the BEA crowd in the process last Tuesday night.
Monson scored 44 points (a school record) and grabbed 13 rebounds versus United South Central. However, it was not enough as the Bucs fell to the Rebels, 77-76 in overtime.
The senior forward scored 30 of his career high 44 points in the second half.
Monson has scored 20 or more points in 10 of the last 11 games. In his last seven, the forward is averaging 28 points and 12 rebounds.
Conor Barnett chipped in 13 points and Derek Johnson also added 11 for the maroon and gold.
USC jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead to start the game.
But then Johnson hit a leaner from the top of the key to tie the game at 4-4.
After trading baskets for the next four minutes, the Rebels forced six turnovers. They also scored 12 of their first 20 points on second chance opportunities.
Two valuable maroon and gold players were in early foul trouble having coach Seth Anderson go to his bench earlier than he would have liked.
"I was proud of how well our guys off the bench played when they needed to go in for big minutes," coach Seth Anderson says. "They definitely played more minutes than what they are used to."
Bailey Olson committed three fouls in the games first eight minutes. Quinn Huisman also picked up his third foul as well, midway through the half.
Despite giving up 12 offensive rebounds in the first half, the Bucs were hanging around.
Monson hit from the top of the key to narrow the Buccaneers' deficit to three midway through the half, 19-16.
The USC defense was creating turnovers from pressuring and double teaming Monson in the block, making it difficult to get the ball to him.
USC guard Nate Pederson scored two of his 12 points with a layup giving the Rebels their largest lead of the half, 27-20 with 6:24 remaining.
Monson grabbed an offensive rebound and banked it off the glass for the last basket of the half.
BEA trailed USC 35-27 heading into the locker room.
Monson could not be stopped in the beginning of the second half. He scored 11 straight points helping the Buccaneers take a one point advantage, 38-37.
After Derek Johnson took the ball coast-to-coast and making a contested driving layup, BEA took a three point lead with 12:47 left in the game.
It was a hard fought first 18 minutes; each team was in the bonus with 9:45 left in the half.
Trevor Stencel hit a three-pointer which gave the visitors a slight four- point edge, 55-51 with 6:24 remaining.
Monson again took a pass from Conor Barnett, who had six assists, and scored, making the score 60-58 with 2:32 left.
The Buccaneers battled for offensive rebounds all night and got three huge ones, which led to yet another Monson put back.
BEA was up three, 63-60, with 50 seconds remaining.
USC's next trip down the floor resulted in three shots from the free-throw line. Stencel made two of three from the line.
The Rebels then fouled Barnett, who made both of his free throws giving the Bucs a 65-62 lead.
With time running out, Walker Linde made a straight-on, acrobatic three-pointer to tie the game with 14 seconds left.
The Bucs had a chance to win the game in regulation, but turned the ball over on the inbound pass. Luckily, Olsen was there trailing the play to block the game-winning layup attempt by the Rebels.
After Olsen's half-court heave ended up clanking off the backboard, the Bucs headed to their first overtime of the season.
Johnson made a three-pointer six seconds into the extra session giving the maroon and gold an early three point edge.
But, USC answered right back and tied the score at 68 on their next possession.
The Rebels scored five unanswered points forcing coach Anderson to use a timeout.
Barnett made a three-pointer to cut the lead to two points with 50 seconds left in overtime.
After another Monson putback, BEA pressed USC, but forgot about defending the front court, which led to an easy layup.
The highly entertaining game ended with another Barnett three, cutting the lead to one, 77-76. However USC did not have to inbound the ball because time expired.
USC guard Stencel led the way for the Rebels with 14 points. Cody Nelson also added 10 points and eight rebounds.
"It was a tough loss. We played well enough to win, but didn't make the clutch plays needed down the stretch," Anderson explains. "It was good for us to play in games like that where we need to execute and make plays in a big game."