For BEA girls, it’s ‘payback’ time
Heading into last Friday’s game against the Fairmont Cardinals, the Blue Earth Area girls basketball team had won seven straight games. In fact, they had not suffered a defeat since the Cardinals claimed a five-point victory in Blue Earth back on Dec 22.
The two evenly matched teams battled to a 19-19 halftime tie — before the Bucs were able to gain the advantage midway through the second half on their way to a 41-35 triumph.
The win puts the Bucs atop the South Central Conference with a 4-1 record, followed by three teams with 3-2 records.
Kate Hassing got the Buccaneers on the board first with a free throw, but the Cards would take the lead when Alyssa Niss hit a turn around jumper for Fairmont’s first two points.
The Cards would maintain the lead until Hassing’s effort on the offensive board paid off as she followed up her own miss with a rebound and basket to tie the game up at 11-11.
While Hassing worked the inside for five first half points, it was the accurate shooting of Bucs’ sophomore Camille Driscoll that helped keep the Bucs in the game. Driscoll made 5 of 6 shots for 10 first half points. Her basket with 15 seconds on the clock put the Bucs up 19-16.
The Cards responded with a trey by Kirsten True to knot the score at 19 all as the teams headed to their locker rooms for halftime.
A drive by the Cards’ Jami Riley gave the home team an early second-half lead – but Haley Pirsig countered for the Bucs to tie things up at 21.
With the score tied at 23 and just under 13 minutes left on the clock, the Cardinals stepped up their defensive pressure. This caused some problems for the Bucs and resulted in a Niss free throw and a True basket, giving the Cardinals a 26-23 lead and forcing a Blue Earth Area time out at the 11:39 mark.
The Buccaneers got their offense back on track with Pirsig hitting from close range before stepping out to connect from just inside the arc for two more and a 27-26 lead.
Meanwhile, the Bucs had started applying more pressure in the back court. The switch to a zone defense proved effective as Pirsig added four more points and the Bucs increased their lead to 31-28.
Ashley Olson connected for the Bucs’ only trey of the game, followed by Alicia Rorman finding Kate Hassing for a base line layup to push the Bucs’ lead to 36-28 at the 6:26 lead.
A Hassing free throw extended the lead to nine points, before a basket by True narrowed the margin to seven at 37-30 with just over three minutes remaining.
Free throws by Rorman and Hassing pushed the advantage back to nine. The Cards’ Ariel Berhow and the Bucs’ Olson traded a pair of free throws.
Berhow connected for a trey with 30.9 seconds left on the clock to end the scoring, giving the Bucs the 6-point victory.
Fairmont did steal an in bounds pass and got off 2 3-point attempts but the shots were off the mark. Fairmont suffered only their second loss of the season against eleven wins, while the Bucs improved to 11-3 overall.
“As expected this was a hard-fought game between two good defensive teams,” notes Blue Earth Area head coach Al Cue. “I don’t think they expected us to switch to a zone and it proved effective for us.”
Driscoll and Pirsig led the Bucs in scoring with 10 points each, followed by Hassing and Olson who tallied nine apiece.
Olson had five rebounds for the Bucs followed by Pirsig, Hassing, and Driscoll with four each.
Olson led the way with five steals while Meghan Mittelstadt had four assists followed by Rorman with three.