Offense stalls in tourney loss
It was the tale of two halves for the Blue Earth Area girls in the championship round of this year’s Holiday Basketball Tournament. Squaring off against the Jackson County Central Huskies on Dec. 29, the girls from Blue Earth Area controlled the tempo throughout the first half.
With the use of good ball movement, the Bucs had great success early in the contest. Senior Lindsey Norman’s baseline jumper with 8:42 remaining in the half extended BEA’s lead to 17-8 and forced the Huskies to call a timeout. With 3:05 remaining in the half, a Caitlin Rorman steal and assist to Grace Mensing allowed the Bucs to extend to a 26-16 lead. At the break, the Buccaneers were in front of the Huskies, 28-19.
Unfortunately for the BEA faithful, the Bucs were unable to build off of their strong first half showing. The Huskies managed to take their first lead of the game as they began the second half on a 16-4 run. According to BEA head coach Al Cue, his team remained competitive on the defensive end during the run, but the offense simply struggled to produce.
“There was a stretch there where our score sat on 32 for a long time,” Cue said. “It seemed to me we were getting open shots and missing them, and they were getting open shots and making them.”
Continuing to compete throughout, guard Ta Armstrong came off the BEA bench and electrified the crowd with a steal and a layup in the same sequence. Armstrong’s play cut the Huskie lead to 50-46 with less than three minutes remaining.
Refusing to give up, the Buccaneers went to their full-court pressing defense late in the contest. A Rorman layup with 8.2 seconds on the clock made the score 54-52 in favor of JCC. However, the Bucs would not be able to trim the deficit any further as two Huskie free throws put the game on ice. When the final buzzer had sounded, the Bucs were on the short end of a 56-54 final score.
For the game, Rorman scored 19, while Hannah Johnson added 17. Sofie Blair chipped in with eight points, including four points from the foul line.