Bucs win thriller, 52-51
Girls basketball fans were treated to a season opening thriller as the Blue Earth Area Buccaneers edged the Granada-Huntley-East Chain Mustangs 52-51 last Monday night.
The host Mustangs came into the contest ranked eighth in Class 1A, while the Bucs graduated just one senior off of last year’s State Tournament team.
The Mustangs twin towers of 6-foot-2 junior Alyssa Cegelske and 6-foot-0 senior Ashlynn Cegelske, dominated play in the early going. They combined to score the first 16 points for GHEC, before senior guard Stephanie Stensland hit a shot from beyond the arc giving the hosts a 19-15 lead.
A trey by Ashley Olson pulled the Bucs to within one. The Mustangs responded with nine unanswered points, gaining a 10-point advantage at 28-18, with 2:45 left in the first half.
Back-to-back 3-pointers by Meghan Mittelstadt and Morgan Dickman, plus a free throw by Hayley Pirsig, cut the Mustangs’ margin to 28-25 with 25 seconds left before intermission. The teams traded free throws as the half ended with the Bucs down 29-26.
“That was a key stretch of play at the end of the first half, when we were able to cut into their lead going into half time,” comments Bucs Head Coach Al Cue.
Olson wasted little time getting the Bucs going in the second half as the 5-foot-4 junior guard drilled a trey from the corner to knot the game at 29 all.
Moments later Olson gave the Bucs their first lead of the game as she hit another 3-pointer, putting BEA up 34-33. She followed that with an end-to-end layup for a 36-33 lead. That forced a Mustang time out with 14:31 remaining in the game.
In the next 46 seconds, Olson would pick up two quick fouls that gave her four total and would send her to the bench. She would not be the only Buc with foul trouble, as senior guard Alicia Rorman would also spend a large part of the second half on the bench with four fouls.
The teams would battle to a tie at 45. A basket from the corner of the free throw line by Camille Driscoll and a three by Morgan Dickman gave the Bucs a 50-45 lead with 6:35 to go in the contest.
The Mustangs showed their poise, however, and trimmed the lead to one, at 50-49 with 2:24 left on the clock.
Following a time out with 1:10 remaining, the Mustangs’ Alyssa Cegelske gave the home team the lead with a basket coming with just under a minute remaining.Olson, who had been reinserted at the 4:27 mark, was on target with a 12-foot jumper with 20.5 seconds on the clock. That proved to be the game winner, as the Mustangs failed on two long-range attempts. The Bucs held on for the 52-51 victory.
“Sara Warmka did a great job coming off the bench with Rorman and Olson in foul trouble,” notes coach Cue.
While the Mustangs out rebounded the Bucs 29-23, BEA was able to force 18 turnovers, while only committing eight of their own.
The Buccaneers were 19 of 48 from the field including 9 of 23 from behind the arc. Olson led the Bucs with 15 points, followed by Kate Hassing with 12, Dickman with 10 and `Driscoll with seven.
Hayley Pirsig pulled down six rebounds while Hassing finished with five.
The B-squad Bucs also won, 36-16.
Sara Warmka led the way with 11 points and Krista Hassing added nine, as the Bucs held the Mustangs to just six second half points on their way to the 20-point victory.
This week the Bucs host Waseca on Tuesday night, and NRHEG on Friday night.