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BEA ready for a winning year

By Staff | Dec 3, 2017

The BEA Buccaneers girls basketball team has been guided by coach Al Cue for the past 10 seasons. This year, the Bucs look to build on their 15-13 record from a year ago. The 2017-2018 Bucs look to utilize their top flight athletic skills at multiple positions. Front row left to right: Grace Mensing, Sofia Blair, Lindsey Norman, Reegan Howard. Back row left to right: Maddie Armon, Alyssa Ripley, Hannah Johnson, Sidney Blair, Caitlin Rorman, Kaitlin Johnson, Kiera Osmundson, Gabby Weerts, Callie Stevermer, Téa Armstrong.

In basketball, team success can only be achieved if individuals buy into a system and work together as a unit. For Blue Earth Area Buccaneer girls basketball coach Al Cue, working towards that goal is just a part of the daily grind.

Establishing an identity; maximizing a team strength while also minimizing weaknesses happens to play a key role in building a cohesive roster. This early in the season, Cue admits finding an identity is still a work in progress.

“I want us to be a lot better as a team by late February than we are right now,” Cue says. “If that is enough to get us a lot of wins, then that’s great.

“If we can figure out how to run under control, that would be our best way to play,” Cue continues.

Now in his 11th year at the helm for Blue Earth Area, coach Cue and his Bucs squad experienced a mixed bag of results during the 2016-17 campaign.

Finishing the season with a 15-13 mark, the maroon and gold struggled to find consistency for much of the year as their 3-7 conference record left something to be desired.

On a positive note, the Bucs ended last season with six wins in their final 10 games. If BEA has designs on carrying over last year’s late season rally into this year, Cue believes an emphasis on the fundamentals will be paramount to the team’s success.

“We need to rebound better than we did a year ago, continue to be good defenders, and maybe shoot it a little better this year,” Cue says.

One of the main advantages this year’s team has over the competition happens to be in overall athleticism. With an abundance of athletic talent at multiple positions, Cue feels very confident matching up with most teams in the Big South Conference.

“I think we are a real athletic team,” Cue says. “Some of our basketball skills need honing, but athletically, we can run and jump with anyone. We do that kind of thing very well.”

Fortunately for the Bucs, this year’s unit features several experienced returning players. In particular, expectations are running high for junior Caitlin Rorman and senior Lindsey Norman.

As one of the team’s top scorers, Rorman is closing in on 1,000 career points at the varsity level. Meanwhile, Norman returns for her final season after starting all 28 games last year.

Other senior backcourt contributors such as Reegan Howard, Grace Mensing, and Sofie Blair give coach Cue added flexibility in the Bucs rotation.

“Reegan Howard had a very good year shooting threes at the end of last year for us,” Cue adds. “Sofie Blair is just a great athlete that can get out on the perimeter and defend. Grace Mensing didn’t have a huge role for us last year, but I expect her to have a much bigger role this year.”

With a plethora of senior leadership on hand, BEA freshman have the unique opportunity of practicing with established varsity players during the early stages of the season. Coach Cue sees this as a golden opportunity to cultivate the team’s young talent.

“By having all the freshmen and all the seniors practicing in the same gym most of the time, it instantly teaches the young kids how hard you’re expected to work,” Cue explains. “Year after year, our seniors do a good job of setting the right example.”

Overall, the Bucs basketball mentor has a positive outlook on the upcoming campaign.

“I’m excited about the new year because we have a lot of experience coming back, and great athletes who work their tails off in practice,” says Cue.