Bucs lose in Section finals
Poor shooting doomed the Blue Earth Area Buccaneers’ hopes of heading to the State Basketball Tournament.
BEA lost to the St. Peter Saints in the championship game of the Section 2AA Tournament last Friday night in Mankato.
Final score was 55-38. The Saints’ victory propelled them to the State Tournament for the second year in a row – both victories over the Bucs.
It was also the third time this season St. Peter has defeated the BEA girls.
The game was close for most of the first half, but got out of hand in the second stanza.
“It’s always tough to lose and be done,” says Bucs head coach Al Cue. “We played them very even in the first half, but in the second half, we struggled to shoot the ball into the hoop.”
In fact, the Bucs only made three of their 21 shots from the field in the second half.
“Give St. Peter credit, though,” Cue says. “They were defending us very well.”
After trailing 2-0, the Bucs built up an early 6-2 lead, on perfect free throws by Ashley Olson, Camille Driscoll and Krista Hassing.
The Saints responded with a 3-pointer to get within one. Olson responded with a three of her own and the Bucs were up 9-5.
St. Peter completed a traditional three-point play, followed by another bucket – giving them the lead at 10-9.
A hook shot by Sydney Ristau gave the lead back to BEA, 11-10.
The game stayed close for the next six minutes. In fact, it was tied at 12-12, 16-16 and again at 19-19.
It was Olson completing a traditional three-point play that tied it at 19.
It was the last time the game would be tied, or the Bucs would be ahead.
In the next minute and a half, the Saints scored two 3-pointers and a regular-length shot to suddenly take a 27-19 lead.
A Driscoll free throw, combined with an Olson basket, cut the Saints’ lead from eight to five at the halftime buzzer – 29-24.
The Bucs’ shooting woes really became apparent in the second half.
Nearly six and a half minutes ran off the clock before the Bucs were able to score in the second stanza.
A Sara Warmka free throw with 11:39 left in the game gave BEA its first point of the half.
The score was 41-25.
Over the next two minutes, both teams were only able to score from the charity stripe.
The two teams combined to make 38 of their points with free throws. BEA was 18 of 30, while St. Peter hit 20 of 26.
Free throws were the norm for the rest of the game. A pair of them from Jenny Smith cut the score to 48-35 with four minutes left in the game.
BEA’s last points came on a 3-pointer by Olson with less than a minute left in the contest. It made the score 53-38.
St. Peter hit two more from the charity stripe in the last 40 seconds, to make the final 55-38.
“I thought the girls played hard and gave it all they had,” Coach Cue says. “Our defense was solid, but we couldn’t overcome the shooting woes.”
From the field, the Bucs hit on just nine of their 40 attempts, for 23 percent. Meanwhile, the Saints were 16 of 36 for 44 percent.
Olson led the Buccaneers with 14 points. Hassing added eight and Driscoll five.
St. Peter also outrebounded BEA in the game, 31-20. They also had more assists than the Bucs (11-4), turnovers (21-14) and steals (9-8).
Despite the loss, Coach Cue had a lot of high praise for the girls’ season.
“I am very proud of what these girls accomplished this season,” the Buc mentor says. “We lost eight seniors off of last year’s team and still worked our way back to the section finals.”
Cue says the team came a long way during the year.
“We were 1-3 at the Christmas break and then played some excellent basketball at times to end up at 18-9,” Cue continues. “The seniors were great leaders on and off the court. They will be missed.”