Bucs boast All-BSC ballers
Two of the leading scorers for the Sub-Section runner-up Blue Earth Area girls basketball team were named 2016-17 All-Big South Conference honorees this week.
The Buccaneers won just three of seven BSC games during the season, finishing fifth out of six East Division teams. But they routed Luverne in their conference crossover, a 52-28 decision, and advanced twice in Class AA postseason play.
And they did so, according to longtime head coach Al Cue, in large part due to the contributions of sophomore forward Caitlin Rorman and senior guard Samantha Barslou, the maroon and gold’s latest All-BSC honorees.
A blossoming standout who led the Bucs in three-pointers as a freshman in 2015-16, Rorman took the lead on an offense featuring three new full-time starters as a sophomore. And her numbers did not disappoint, earning her a first-team All-BSC selection and her second in as many years.
“Caitlin was a huge part of our success this year,” Cue said. “She is the girl everyone looked to for the big baskets.”
That would explain her team-high 397 points (an average of 14.7 per game), nearly 40 of which came during the Buccaneers’ trouncing of Maple River in the playoffs.
“She had a great game in the Sub-Section semifinals, scoring 36 points on just 19 shot attempts,” Cue said. “She really stepped up her game this year as a sophomore.”
Rorman’s 129 rebounds (4.8 per game) and two-point field-goal percentage (58) also paced the BEA girls over the course of the season, which saw the Bucs start 3-5 but finish with 10 wins in their final 15 games.
“We would not have been the team we were this year without Caitlin,” Barslou, her teammate, said. “She will be a major part of BEA girls basketball for the next two years.”
Barslou herself, meanwhile, went out with a bang as one of the team’s few senior starters. And not only because she drained a trio of second-half three-pointers to headline BEA’s comeback attempt in the Sub-Section finals at Minnesota State University, Mankato.
“Samantha was a great leader this year,” Cue said. “She was an organizer off the court (and) she also did the little things on the court. She was willing to step in and take a charge or dive on the floor for a loose ball. We will miss her next year.”
With 240 total points (8.5 per game) in 2016-17, Barslou often finished second only to Rorman when it came to leading the Bucs offense, earning honorable mention All-BSC recognition for her final campaign on the BEA hardwood.
“Sam has been a great role model and team leader, so she definitely deserved the honor,” Rorman said.
In addition to logging 78 boards on the season, Barslou hit on all but 17 of 87 free-throw tries as a senior, finishing with the second best foul-shot percentage (80) in program history.
Five of those free throws came during the Bucs’ final game of the 2016-17 campaign. And while Barslou appreciates All-BSC recognition, “especially when you look at how competitive our conference was,” the true highlight of her senior season came during that finale.
“Getting far enough in the playoffs to play at MSU,” the senior said, “it had been a goal of mine for a lot of years, and I’m glad our team got that experience.”
Moving forward, both Barslou and Rorman admitted they have their sights set squarely on the basketball court.
The latter, with two years left to suit up for BEA, takes up offseason games with MN Rise, an AAU club in Southern Minnesota and Northern Iowa, and ultimately hopes to make the leap to the college level.
And Barslou, with her eyes on a medical degree from either Augustana University or the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is not ready to commit to life without hoops.
“I’m certain I will find myself on the court again, whether for intramurals or a pickup game,” she said. “I don’t see something that I enjoyed playing so much being completely gone from my life just yet.”