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BEA downed by Fairmont

By Staff | Dec 10, 2017

The Buccaneers’ Sofie Blair goes up for a contested shot during the battle against the Fairmont Cardinals last Thursday night in a fight to the finish.

With 5.2 seconds left in the game, no timeouts remaining, and facing a two-point deficit, nervous energy enveloped the home crowd at Blue Earth Area last Thursday night against Fairmont.

The Cardinals had an opportunity to extend their lead to three points, but missed the ensuing free throw. BEA secured the defensive rebound after a brief scramble for the loose basketball. Bucs senior Sofie Blair wound up with the ball near mid-court and fired a pass to junior Hannah Johnson, who was wide open by the left baseline for a three point attempt.

With little time to spare, Johnson squared up to the basket and hoisted up the game’s final shot. The entire BEA crowd stood in unison, hoping for a buzzer beating three pointer to sink their arch rivals from Fairmont. It was not to be as the shot was off target, sending the Bucs to a 45-43 defeat, their first loss of the young season.

After the game, Bucs head coach Al Cue explained how Johnson was able to get an open look for a game winning attempt despite having no timeouts left.

“We had it set up, anticipating a made free throw, because if we were down three, we had a sideline break that we wanted to run,” Cue said. “They ran it very well, they got a good look, but it was a little bit short, but I’m happy we executed the play correctly.

For the game, junior Caitlin Rorman led Blue Earth Area in scoring with 13. Senior Lindsey Norman was the only other Buccaneer to reach double digits with 10. Coach Cue admitted cold shooting throughout the game contributed to the loss.

“I just thought offensively we just struggled all night. We didn’t shoot it very well, but I also credit Fairmont for playing very good defense,” Cue said.

Blue Earth Area (3-1) will be at home for their next game on Tuesday, Dec. 12 against Martin County West. BEA 64, LCWM 40

The Buccaneers reigned supreme over the Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial Knights on Dec. 4. This dominant performance allowed the BEA girls to win their third consecutive game to begin the new season.

As the final score would indicate, the Bucs steamrolled the Knights in most every statistical category. BEA controlled the paint, scoring 34 of their 64 point from inside. With many of their shots coming from close range, the Bucs were able to shoot over 20 percent higher than LCWM from the field.

As a team, the Buccaneers also grabbed 11 more rebounds, dished out 12 more assists, created seven more steals, and committed four fewer turnovers than their opponent.

BEA junior Caitlin Rorman torched the Knights to the tune of 27 points. Shooting 10-for-14, including a three pointer and making all six of her freethrows, Rorman’s array of offensive skills overwhelmed LCWM.

As 19 of her points came in the first half, Rorman’s hot start helped the Bucs to a 61 percent shooting clip by halftime. For the game, Reegan Howard and Hannah Johnson also chipped in with 12 and 11 points respectively for BEA.

BEA 58, RWV 43

The Blue Earth Area Bucs girls basketball squad continued their winning ways against Redwood Valley on Saturday, Dec. 2. Traveling to Worthington for the game, the Bucs prevailed with a comfortable 58-43 victory.

The maroon and gold got the job done on the strength of a hard nosed defensive effort which held Redwood Valley to 32.4 percent shooting on the afternoon. By comparison, the Bucs shot 41.9 percent from the field.

In addition to their hot shooting, the Buccaneers improved their ball handling skills as well. The Bucs committed 14 turnovers compared to 19 for Redwood Valley in the ballgame. This was a welcomed sight for Buccaneer head coach Al Cue, who praised his team’s composure throughout the contest.

“I thought for the most part, we kept our temperament right where we wanted it to be,” Cue said. “Overall, I thought it was awfully good.”

The Buccaneers not only protected the basketball, but moved the ball consistently on offense, locating high percentage shots. As a team, BEA tallied 10 assists compared to just six for Redwood Valley.

Junior Caitlin Rorman led the way for Blue Earth Area with 13 points. Fellow junior Hannah Johnson scored nine for the Bucs. Meanwhile, Janessa Whitaker led all scorers with 14 for Redwood Valley.

BEA downed by Fairmont

By Staff | Dec 10, 2017

BEA’s Jacob Vaske flys high over the Cardinal defense last Thursday night as he takes aim at the basket against Fairmont in front of the home crowd.

The Fairmont Cardinals (3-0) outgunned the upstart Blue Earth Area Buccaneers (1-2) last Thursday night by a score of 64-52.

Throughout the first half, it was a hotly contested affair with neither team able to pull ahead for very long. BEA relied on the scoring of sophomore sharpshooter Grant Strukel, and the big play ability of guard Austin Thielfoldt to inject life into the home crowd.

While Strukel made the Cardinal defense pay with his quick release from downtown, Thielfoldt’s trademark hustle was on full display. A pirouette layup in transition, followed by a blocked three point attempt by Thielfoldt late in the first half sent Bucs fans into a frenzy. With 4:16 to go in the half, the Buccaneers enjoyed a 23-20 lead over their rivals from Fairmont.

As the second half, things started to slip away for the Bucs. The Cardinals offensive execution, combined with their defensive intensity were too much for BEA to handle. With 8:04 remaining, Fairmont took advantage of Blue Earth Area’s cold shooting and went ahead by a score of 50-43.

The Cardinals continued to add to their lead as their advantage ballooned to double digits with seven minutes remaining in the ballgame.

Although the odds were stacked against Blue Earth Area heading down the stretch, they continued to battle. With 1:53 remaining, Strukel’s competitive spirit was very evident as he dove for a loose ball in an attempt to save his team’s offensive possession.

Unfortunately, the play resulted in an upper left arm injury that forced him out of the game for good. Strukel walked off the court on his own power and ended the evening with a team high 21 points.

BEA took on Redwood Valley on Saturday, Dec. 9 as part of the Big South Conference Showcase. Results from this game will be available in next week’s edition of the Faribault County Register.

BEA 73, LCWM 45

Things started off slowly for the Blue Earth Area Buccaneers in their home opener against Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial last Monday night. After falling behind 12-4 in the early stages of the first half, the BEA offense got busy.

Blue Earth Area’s expert marksman Grant Strukel found soft spots along the perimeter of the LCWM defense and took advantage of late reactions by several defenders. Strukel’s prowess from downtown helped propel the Bucs on a dominating 21-3 run in the first half.

With 18 points by halftime, Strukel ended the game with a career-high total of 23. This included four field goals from beyond the arc. Buccaneer boys head coach Colby Swanson credits Strukel’s hard work in the off season as the reason for his hot shooting.

“Grant was really shooting the ball well,” Swanson said. “He’s put a lot of work into his shot, and he shot it really well over the summer. It’s good to see that paying off.”

Enjoying a nine point lead at the break, the Bucs eventually outscored the Knights 34-15 in the second half. According to Swanson, the key to success was BEA’s pressure on defense that led to easy offense and several opportunities in transition.

“A big reason it happened is because of our effort defensively,” Swanson explained. “We had a lot of deflections, and a lot of tipped balls. Our defensive effort was huge for us.”

In particular, guard Bobby Lindsey served as a main catalyst for a number of Blue Earth Area’s fast break opportunities. After the game, coach Swanson praised the senior’s active hands in the passing lanes.

“Bobby plays at the top of our 1-3-1 zone,” Swanson added. That’s a hard spot to play, but he did a fantastic job. Because of his effort, because of his deflections, it led to a lot of easy baskets.”