Sometimes you win…
The Blue Earth Area girls’ basketball team utilized accurate free throw shooting down the stretch to move one step closer to winning the South Central Conference title as they defeated Fairmont 46-38 on Feb. 1. The win, the Buccaneers’ second win over the Cardinals this season, gives the Bucs a two game advantage with only two conference games remaining.
Playing before a near capacity crowd, the host Bucs took a 13-11 lead into the locker room at halftime. “Both teams played great defense while they struggled offensively,” commented Coach Al Cue.
The biggest play of the first half may have been one that didn’t involve any scoring. The game clock had only ticked off 5:30 when Fairmont power forward Ashley Alleven charged into the Bucs Kali Anderson to pick up her second foul and gain a seat on the bench for most of the half.
“It was a big factor having Alleven getting into early foul trouble,” said Coach Cue.
In the previous meeting between the teams Alleven was quite effective in the post as she scored 16 points while grabbing 10 rebounds. This time around her limited playing time, the result of her foul trouble, helped cut her scoring in half as she was held to eight points for the night.
The Bucs opened the second half with Anderson hitting two buckets and Meagan Grandgenett converting an offensive rebound into a score while Fairmont could manage just two free throws as the Bucs opened a six point lead at 19-13.
The Cardinals fought back as an Alleven basket pulled them within two of the Bucs at 21-19. Alleven then picked up her third foul on the other end of the court with 13:22 showing on the scoreboard clock.
Kate Hassing’s turnaround jumper pushed the lead to four. Jackie Klinkner then found Hassing alone under the basket for another basket as the lead went back to six. Fairmont pulled to within two points before Hassing struck again. Hassing, who led all scorers with 13 points, was fouled as she converted an offensive rebound into a basket. She sank the free throw to complete the three point play and push the Bucs’ lead back to five points with 10:28 remaining in the game.
The Cardinals again fought back as Kirsten True hit a three and Sam Waletich added four points to pull into a tie with the Bucs at 33 points each with 5:25 left to play. Waletich’s layup put Fairmont up by two before Hassing sank one from 15 feet out to pull the Bucs into a 35 all tie.
Hassing sank two free throws and Klinkner stole the ball just past midcourt and took it all the way in for a layup and a 39-35 Bucs lead. The Cardinal’s True hit the front end of a one-and-one to close the gap to three with 1:18 to go.
The Cardinals then had to foul in an attempt to get the ball back but the Bucs foiled that strategy as they hit seven of eight free throws in the last 56 seconds to secure the victory.
The Bucs shot 76 percent from the line as they made 13 of 17 from the charity stripe.
Hayley Darrington scored 10 and Anderson added eight points to follow Hassing as the leading scorers.
Darrington led the Bucs with six rebounds while Hassing grabbed five boards.