The rise and fall at Subsections
The upset minded No. 3-seeded Blue Earth Area Buccaneers took the No. 2-seeded New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva Panthers to overtime before falling short losing by a score of 44-41. The South Sub-Section contest took place Thursday night at the Mankato East gym.
It was a low scoring first half with the Bucs employing a very patient offense and doing a good job of slowing down the high octane Panther offense.
Caitlin Rorman got the Bucs on the board first scoring on an offensive rebound while drawing a foul. She converted the free throw to complete the conventional 3-point play to give the Bucs a 3-0 lead.
Following two free throws by the Panthers the Bucs reeled off five consecutive points to take their biggest lead of the night at 8-2 with 12:33 remaining in the first half.
Both teams struggled to get the ball to fall through the hoop during the low scoring first half. The Panthers did, however, find some success from behind the arc as they connected on three 3-pointers in the first half. The final trey came with two seconds left in the first half and sent the Panthers into the break with a 15-12 lead.
The Panthers struck first in the second half with a free throw to open up a four-point lead. Samantha Barslou cut the deficit to one with a trey and Taylor Grandgenett connected on a jumper from the free throw line to give the Bucs their only lead during regulation time in the second half at 17-16.
The score was tied at 18 before the Panthers rattled off five unanswered points to take a 23-18 lead. Over the next eight minutes the Bucs would narrow the gap to one or two points and then the Panthers would expand their lead to four or five points.
NRHEG opened up a six-point lead at 37-31 with just over five minutes left in the game. The Bucs then went to their inside game with Caitlin Rorman doing the damage on consecutive trips down the floor off of assists from Barslou and Karli Olsen. Rorman’s consecutive baskets cut the deficit to two points with 3:19 left on the clock.
Paige Darrington was the next Buc to take it inside utilizing another Olsen assist to score over the taller Panther defense and knot the game at 37-37. An offensive foul against the Panthers would give the ball back to the Bucs with 50 seconds left in the game. The maroon and gold worked for the last shot but could not get it to fall sending the game into overtime.
Rorman’s block on what looked like a sure basket for the Panthers gave the Bucs the opportunity to take the lead in the overtime session. Once again it was an assist by Olsen to Darrington to give the Bucs a 39-37 lead.
A free throw by the Panthers cut the Bucs margin to one. The Panthers then took the lead for good when Maddie Wagner stepped in front of a pass at half court and took it in for a layup. Two more free throws by the Panthers gave them a 42-39 lead with 50.4 seconds left.
Rorman was fouled with 34.6 seconds left and converted both shots from the charity stripe to pull the Bucs within one point at 42-41.
The Panthers broke the Bucs press and scored on a lay up to make it 44-41. The Bucs got off a three-point shot to go for the tie but it fell short to end the game.
Rorman led the way for the Bucs with 14 points followed by Darrington with eight points and Grandgenett with seven.
Rorman pulled down nine rebounds while Darrington had seven. Olsen led the way doling out four assists with Grandgenett adding three assists.
The Bucs finished their season with a record of 16-10. Seniors playing their final game of their high school career were Anne Franta, Shayna Stevermer, Karli Olsen, Anikka Wilhelmi, Taylor Grandgenett, Natali Fellows, and Paige Darrington.
Maple River 29
The Blue Earth Area Buccaneer girls cruised to a 49-29 victory over the Maple River Eagles in the opening round of the Section 2AA, South Sub-Section.
The game, which was played in Blue Earth on Saturday night, Feb. 27, featured the No. 3 seeded Buccaneers hosting the No. 6 seeded Eagles.
The win propelled the maroon and gold into a semifinals game on Thursday night at Mankato East where they will go against the No. 2 seeded New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva Panthers.
Against the Eagles, the Bucs started off a little slow, but overpowered Maple River in the second half.
“This was a good win for us,” Coach Al Cue said. “Maple River started very well, but we answered them. In the second half, we took control by playing better defense, holding them to just six second half points.”
BEA was led by Caitlin Rorman who had a game-high 20 points. Karli Olsen also hit double figures with 11 points, and Taylor Grandgenett added seven and Paige Darrington four.
Rorman, Grandgenett and Darrington all had four rebounds each in the game as well.
The Bucs dominated in several areas of the stats sheet. They had 30 points in the paint to the Eagles’ 12, 18 points off turnovers to their three, and 12 steals to their two.
BEA was 19 of 51 from the floor including 3 of 10 from behind the three-point arc. Maple River also tried 51 shots from the floor, making just 12 of them, including two three-pointers.
The Bucs struggled at the free-throw line, hitting 8 of 22 for a 36 percent rate. The Eagles made 3 of 4 tries or 75 percent.