The No. 2 seed Blue Earth Area girls downed the No. 4 seed Maple River Eagles by a 47-35 score, to win the Section 2AA, West Sub-Section championship game played last Monday night at the Taylor Center in Mankato.
It was less than three weeks ago that the Eagles took the Bucs into overtime before the Bucs were able to pull out a 7-point victory. The Bucs free-throw shooting was important that night and it played a big part in the Bucs’ success in this victory also.
Maple River jumped out to an early 10-5 advantage before a pair of free throws by Olivia Skaare and a trey by Morgan Dickman knotted the score at 10.
Following a free throw by the Eagles’ Skye Boesch, the Bucs’ Jackie Klinkner recorded one of her game high six assists as she found Dickman open for a basket – giving the Bucs a lead they would not relinquish. Dickman later made one of two free throws to put the Bucs up 13-11.
Kate Hassing was the recipient of Klinkner’s next assist as the Bucs broke through the Eagles’ pressure defense to get the easy basket.“We did a good job overall of handling their press,” noted Bucs Coach Al Cue. “We cut down on the number of turnovers compared to the first game and that was part of the difference.”
Blue Earth Area took a nine point, 26-17 lead into the locker room at half time and extended it to 13 points early in the second half. Hayley Pirsig and Hassing connected on shots in the paint to stake the Bucs to a 30-17 lead.
Pirsig’s fake and subsequent baseline drive led to another basket, giving the Bucs a 33-20 lead. The Eagles’ Ally Keller’s trey and Mckenzie Sohre’s basket cut the Bucs margin to eight points.
The Bucs soon had the margin back to 12 as three baskets by Pirsig and one by Hassing – off of another Klinkner assist – enabled the maroon and gold to put together an 8-4 run. That gave them a 41-29 lead with just over seven minutes remaining.
Pirsig’s determination paid off again later as Klinkner went to the line for a one-and-one with the Bucs leading 41-33 with 2:31 left on the clock. Klinkner sank the first shot but missed the bonus attempt. Pirsig fought off an Eagle player for the rebound and her putback increased the lead to 44-33, helping put the game away for the Bucs.
Pirsig finished with 16 points and was joined in double figures by Hassing who tallied 11. Dickman added eight points for the Bucs who were 16 of 22 from the foul line.
Pirsig also led the way in rebounding with 10, followed by Klinkner with 8, and Olivia Skaare with 7.
The Bucs next play the New Richland Panthers – who defeated Hayfield 36-33 to win the East Sub-Section – at Mankato East on March 13. Results of that contest will be in next week’s edition to the Register.