The Blue Earth Area Buccaneer girls basketball team won the first game of the season and gave their coach, Al Cue, the 100th win of his coaching career.
Last Monday's game against Granada-Huntley-East Chain was close-scoring in the end, and the Bucs barely made it out with a win scoring the winning point with four seconds left in the game.
Despite the win, Coach Cue knows the team has room to improve.
Whitney Pirsig, leaps for a layup while avoiding an approaching Mustang player.
"It was a typical first game with lots of nerves and mistakes,"?he says. "We are playing a lot of new girls on the varsity and we're going to have some growing pains."
But, a lot of the team's points were a result of their skill at the free-throw line. They made 16 free throw points out of the 19 attempts made, which is an astounding 84 percent.
The visiting team couldn't compare as they made only 29 percent of their free throws with a successful 2 of 7 attempts.
Krista Hassing had the hottest night at the free-throw line for the Bucs as she made 11 of 12 shots.
And, it turned out that the Mustangs were no match for Hassing at the tip off, putting the ball in BEA's hands at the start of the game.
It was a foul made by the Mustangs on Hassing that allowed her first two shots at the line. She missed one and sunk the second, which put the first point on the scoreboard in the Bucs favor, 1-0.
The girls in maroon and gold were in a prime position to continue scoring.
Kaitlyn Olsen found her sweet spot at the top of the key, sinking two three-pointers in a row. That drove the Bucs further into the lead at 11-2.
Eventually, the Mustangs responded by scoring a basket followed by a three-pointer. This closed the gap in the score, putting the game at 11-9.
But, the Bucs charged ahead, refusing to let the Mustangs take the lead during the first half of the game.
The first half ended with the ball in GHEC's possession and a score of 23-16, the Bucs in the lead.
The second half started with the Mustangs in control of the ball, but the Bucs quickly took it back and Jenna Stevermer scored a basket.
The teams traded baskets a few times, eventually bringing the score to 25-22.
The Bucs wanted to maintain the lead, while the Mustangs tried their best to sneak ahead.
Ciarra Olson scored from under the basket followed by a three-point shot made by Stevermer. This kept the momentum going in the Bucs favor and brought the score to 33-26.
GHEC rebounded the ball and took it down the court and scored two.
They continued to even out the score with the Bucs, but at 33-31 the Mustangs shot a three-pointer and sank it, taking their first lead of the game, 34-33.
Their lead was short-lived when a GHEC player fouled Janessa Jahnke, giving her two shots at the line. She scored both giving the lead back to the Bucs 35-34.
Another Mustang player fouled Hassing which gave her two shots at the free-throw line. She put both in successfully, bumping the score to 37-34.
As the second half of the game neared the last minute, GHEC rebounded the ball and took it down the court untouched by BEA. They scored a three-pointer and pulled into a small lead, 42-41 with 55 seconds left on the clock.
Buc fans were on the edge of their seats as Hassing fouled a Mustang player, giving her a one-and-one free throw attempt with just 23 seconds left.
She missed her first shot and Hassing rebounded, taking the ball down the court for the Bucs.
Then, with just four seconds on the clock and a score of 42-41, a Mustang player fouled Hassing, giving her a one-and-one shot at the line.
Hassing sank her first attempt tying up the game. Then, she made her second free-throw, leading the Bucs to a narrow victory over the Mustangs, 43-42.
Hassing finished the game with 11 free-throw points made and 17 total points scored.
Olsen made 2 of 8 three-point shots and accounted for six of the game points.
Stevermer made one of four three-pointers and two of 10 two-point shots. She was responsible for scoring 11 points for the Bucs.
"These intelligent, athletic girls will work very hard,"?Coach Cue adds. "We'll improve greatly as the season progresses."?