No. 1 Bucs lose to No. 2 Belle Plaine Tigers
The bad news; second-seeded Belle Plaine defeated No. 1 seed Blue Earth Area in boys basketball Thursday night. The good news; the playoffs haven’t started yet.
The two teams seeded one and two in the sub-section met in a non-conference match-up less than a week before playoff action begins.
Eight baskets from beyond the arc and 10 of 14 free throw shooting propelled the visiting Tigers past the Bucs 60-50. Meanwhile the Bucs could only manage one 3-pointer and made less than half of their free throws, 7 of 16 attempts.
The beginning of the game featured Garrett Anderson being involved in the Bucs first 10 points. After scoring the first six points from the low post position, Anderson got an assist as he found Jared Smith open under the basket as the Bucs broke the Tigers’ press. Anderson then went back to work underneath to score his fourth basket and give the Bucs an early 10-5 lead.
With the Bucs holding a 10-7 lead, the Tigers started to pour in the threes. Tyler Hartmann got the first three to tie the score at 10 all. Kyle Savage then hit the first two of his four first half threes to give the Tigers a 16-10 lead.
“The difference in the game was that while we were hurting them on the inside, they hurt us outside of the arc,” noted Bucs coach Gary Holmseth. “We didn’t get out on their shooters well enough.”
Although the Bucs would battle back to trail by only three points at half time, they had other problems.
Forward Nick Lee picked up his third foul with 6:57 remaining in the first half and then was called for his fourth foul with 1:03 to go in the half.
The Tigers started the second half right where they left off in the first half, as Hatmann swooshed the nets for a three that put the Bucs down 28-22. A Charlie Garlick free throw brought the Bucs within five points at 30-25 but moments later the Tigers had pushed the lead back to eight points at 34-26.
Five times the Bucs would pull within eight points of the Tigers and have a chance to cut the lead down to six, but they could not break that eight- point barrier.
The final blow came at the 3:14 mark as Lee was charged with his fifth foul and had to exit the game. Corey Liebl hit a three with 1:24 remaining to cut the lead to 11 points – but by then it was too late, as the Tigers wrapped up the victory.
“They’ve got a very strong nucleus back from last year,” commented Holmseth. “They are a solid team that plays in a tough conference and they played a tough non-conference schedule.”
Anderson led the Bucs with 16 points, followed by Nate Carr with 11.
Sub-section play begins Tuesday, March 10 for the Bucs as they host Le Sueur-Henderson. Due to township elections the game will start at 8:01.