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Bucs open with a fast break

BEA girls surge to top Rebels before falling to New Ulm

December 4, 2016
Cody Benjamin - Register Staff Writer ( , Faribault County Register

After rallying to top United South Central in their home opener of the 2016-17 campaign, the Blue Earth Area girls basketball team came up short on the road Thursday night, dropping a 73-48 contest to New Ulm (2-0).

Matched up with some highly touted guard play that helped drive the host Eagles to a 77-49 victory over Sibley Easy on Nov. 29, the Buccaneers were within 12 points at one point late in the contest and attempted a second-half rebound that would have mirrored their first-game success but ultimately could not outdo the Eagles' offensive attack.

With two games under their belt on the year, Bucs head coach Al Cue and the BEA girls will eye to get back in the win column when they return home on Monday, Dec. 5, for a showdown with Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial.

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On Dec. 9, the girls will kick off a doubleheader against Fairmont High School, where the Buccaneer boys will also be taking the court, before hosting Granada Huntley East Chain-Truman-Martin Luther on Dec. 13.

They are then set to hit the road for a matchup with Holy Family Catholic (5AA competition) at Maple River High School three days later.

BEA 49, USC 28

Through one half of the Blue Earth Area girls' season opener Nov. 29, concerns about a lineup featuring three new starters and missing seven graduated seniors may have been validated, as the young Buccaneers connected on just seven of 29 shots, falling behind United South Central 10-2 and trailing at halftime, 18-15.

Those concerns were nowhere to be found by the end of the night at BEA High School, however, as the maroon and gold racked up more second-half points (34) than the visiting Rebels scored all game, running away with a 49-28 victory to kick off the 2016-17 campaign.

"I'd credit it to first-game jitters," BEA coach Al Cue said of the Bucs' slow start. "We played with good energy, we were fresh and we just wore them down."

Based strictly on numbers, the Buccaneers surely did just that, trotting 14 different players onto the hardwood over the course of the evening. A jump in second-half shooting percentages, of course, helped BEA rebound from its early hole, but Cue's regular rotation of players also flipped the script against USC.

Sophomore Caitlin Rorman, the Bucs' three-point specialist from 2015-16, opened the contest as part of the starting five and posted a team-high 12 points alongside fellow first-stringers Sam Ripley, Samantha Barslou, Alissa Norman and Lindsey Norman. But Grace Mensing, Reegan Howard and Lindsey Jacobs were among a handful of BEA girls who combined for at least 17 points off the bench as the maroon and gold surged past the Rebels. Initially, only a Rorman layup early in the game's first half seemed to pace the Bucs' offense, which struggled to dig itself out of a 14-8 run by USC.

"I shuddered to see what our shooting percentage was," Cue admitted. "The second half was better, but we missed quite a few, particularly in point-blank range."

A trey by Howard with around 4:40 left in the first half began a slight turnaround for BEA, however, as the Buc girls narrowed USC's lead to three by the break.

From that point forward, Tuesday night was virtually all Buccaneers, as Lindsey Norman bucketed back-to-back shots early in the second to give BEA a lead, which her teammates helped secure.

A Rorman three-pointer not long afterward put the Bucs up 27-21. A pair of Barslou free throws and a subsequent shot by Ripley in the paint, one that gave BEA a 31-23 advantage, then sealed the maroon and gold's momentum.

With Alissa Norman dishing out passes from the point guard spot and trading minutes with several others off the bench, the Bucs continued to build their lead with scores by Barslou and Mensing, who drained a pair of free throws, as well as Jacobs, who had a three-pointer.

Barslou and Ripley had eight points apiece behind Rorman, and the two also combined for 12 rebounds, seven of which came on the defensive side of the court.

Lindsey Norman, meanwhile, led the team with five assists on the night, and Ryanne Klabunde tied for first on the Bucs stats sheet with six rebounds.



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