Bucs lose in tourney opener
The losing streak for the Blue Earth Area Bucs boys basketball team stands at five games following their 59-56 tournament loss to the Granada Huntley East Chain-Truman-Martin Luther Jaguars.
It was a highly competitive game throughout as the Bucs revved up their intensity on both ends of the court. However, cold shooting spells and empty offensive possessions eventually derailed the maroon and gold.
Grant Strukel was BEA’s leading scorer as he ended the contest with 15 points. His pass to Carter Bell in the closing seconds of the first half resulted in a three pointer for the Bucs. Heading into the locker room, BEA only trailed by one point, 26-25.
The Bucs trailed for the entire second half, struggling to put together consistent offense. However, their competitive spirit gave them a chance to win down the stretch. BEA sophomore Caelan Sanders swooped to the basket with 2:33 remaining in the game and converted on a three-point play. This trimmed the deficit to 57-53.
Following a missed free throw by the Jaguars, the Bucs had a golden opportunity to cut into the lead once again. Sanders passed the ball inside to senior Jacob Vaske following a well executed pick-and-roll. Unfortunately, Vaske missed from close range with two minutes remaining in the game.
With 1:20 to go, a Strukel three trimmed BEA’s deficit to one point, making the score 57-56 in favor of the Jags. This would be as close as the Bucs would get as two more close range misses from Vaske and Austin Thielfoldt were too much to overcome.
In the closing seconds, and down by three points, Thielfoldt hoisted a desperation three from just inside the half-court line. The BEA home crowd groaned as the ball went off of the backboard and bounced off the front of the rim before missing.
Following the game, Buccaneer head coach Colby Swanson was proud of his team’s effort.
“I thought we played well tonight, we just didn’t make enough plays to win,” Swanson said. “There were just a few plays here and there that didn’t go our way and that was the difference.”
On Friday, Dec. 29, Blue Earth Area took on United South Central in the consolation game of the holiday tournament. Results from this match-up will be available in next week’s edition of the Faribault County Register.