The Blue Earth Area boys basketball team came within 12 seconds of having their first winning streak of the season.
It wasn't meant to be, however, as Maple River walked out of the BEA gym with a 56-53 victory last Monday night.
The Buccaneers (4-10) struggled to execute plays down the stretch.
"Their help defense was really good all game," coach Seth Anderson says. "They really packed it in well."
Luke Monson was held in check most of the game and finished with 22 points and 10 rebounds on 7 of 9 shooting from the floor.
BEA?guard Derek Johnson also reached double figures, contributing 13 he was 3 of 6 behind the arc.
Maple River jumped out to an early 8-2 start fueled by a pair of three-pointers.
The Bucs turned two quick Eagle turnovers into fast break layups narrowing the visitors' lead.
Maple River countered with an 8-0 run.
Luke Monson stopped the Bucs scoring drought by grabbing an offensive rebound, scoring, and in the process was fouled, cutting the lead to 16-11 with 10:45 left in the half. Monson would score the next six points for BEA.
With 6:45 remaining in the half, Johnson got loose at the top of the key and hit a three-pointer tying the contest at 22-22, which sparked a 12-0 Bucs run.
Maple River held a slight one point advantage heading into halftime, 33-32.
Both teams struggled shooting the ball early in the second half. The Eagles scored their first points of the half at the 13:35 mark.
The Buccaneers grabbed the lead at 39-34 after Connor Barnett hit a three-pointer from the left wing, with 11:10 remaining. Johnson followed with a three ball of his own on the next possession.
With 55 seconds remaining in the game, Bailey Olson made a tough put back and was fouled on the play, trimming the Eagles lead to 54-53.
After Maple River failed to convert a free throw, the maroon and gold had a chance to take the lead with 28 seconds remaining in the game.
After passing the ball around up top, BEA was trying to get the ball to Monson, but Maple River double teamed him.
Coach Anderson called a timeout with 12 seconds remaining to draw up one final play.
The Buccaneers came out of the timeout once again trying to get Monson the ball. However, a failed pick-and-roll attempt forced an unwanted shot and gave the Bucs their 10th loss of the season.
Jonah Breiter was the high point man for the Eagles with 18. Brian Doering contributed 13 points and six rebounds.
"We have to try and keep positive and believe we can win these close games we have been having," Anderson says.
BEA 90, New Ulm 85
When BEA needed a basket against New Ulm, it was safe to say Luke Monson was the main go-to man.
But, down the stretch it was the Bucs' guards who stepped up, broke the full-court pressure and created easy scoring opportunities when it counted.
The Buccaneers defeated the Eagles 90-85, on Jan. 17, to break their three game losing streak.
The high scoring affair resulted from high-percentage shooting for the Bucs (61 percent) and excellent pressure defense from the visitors.
Monson did, however, continue his hot streak. The senior forward finished with 37 points and added 17 rebounds he was 2 of 3 from three-point range and 15 of 20 overall.
"He's put time in to be a consistent and highly skilled player," coach Seth Anderson explains. "His teammates are doing a great job of getting him the ball at the correct times, too."
Bailey Olson made the first basket of the game and contributed 16 points and seven rebounds for the maroon and gold.
Then Monson scored the teams next eight points.
Brandon Olson made back-to-back three-pointers giving the Bucs a 16-14 lead in the ensuing minutes. His long range jumpers sparked the beginning of a 19-3 run by the Buccaneers, which gave BEA a 29-17 lead with 6:35 remaining in the half.
Grant Kannegiesser led the Eagles with 12 first half points. However, the maroon and gold went to halftime up 42-33.
After Kannegiesser made a jumper from the top of the key to open the second half, the Bucs went on another run. This time, they rattled off nine consecutive points, including back-to-back three-pointers from Monson and guard Derek Johnson, who had nine points and six assists, giving BEA their largest lead at 51-35.
Kannegiesser cut the lead to 10 with 13:45 remaining.
With 8:47 left, the Eagles Tanner Ogren capped off an impressive run in which New Ulm made six consecutive shots, cutting the Bucs lead to one, 65-66.
After Tanner Kluis hit a free-throw to tie the game, Monson scored on a three-point play and Johnson hit a three allowing the struggling Buccaneers to distance themselves from the Eagles.
BEA finished the game advancing the ball and only turning it over twice in the game's last four minutes.
However, the final Buccaneer turnover was costly; Kannegiesser tied the game at 83 with an easy layup and was fouled on the play. After the made free-throw, New Ulm took its first lead since they had been up 11-10 in the first half.
BEA guard Connor Barnett, scored four of his 13 points in the games final two minutes. His jumper in the lane reclaimed the lead for the home team, 85-84.
Jackson Yackley attempted a three-pointer with 13 seconds remaining and was fouled. New Ulm was only down four (88-84) and was not out of it yet. But, he only made one free-throw giving the maroon and gold the victory.
Kannegiesser led four Eagles in double-figures with 35 points.
BEA had an impressive 25 assists on the teams 34 made field goals. Barnett contributed a season-high nine assists.
"We grew up a little bit tonight down the stretch," Anderson says. " However, we are still far from where we need to be though."