Girls defeat JCC, win tourney
It took some late game heroics from Blue Earth Area sophomore Ta Armstrong to secure the win for her team in the championship game against the Jackson County Central Huskies in the BEA Holiday Classic Tournament.
Armstrong’s steal and subsequent basket with 2.1 seconds remaining in the game lifted the Bucs to a 78-76 victory over the Huskies.
BEA had advanced to the championship game with a 63-45 win over United South Central. JCC earned their berth in the title game with a 78-43 victory over the Granada-Huntley-East Chain/Truman/Martin Luther Jaguars.
Up by one point at halftime, the Bucs relinquished the lead and found themselves trailing by six points at 61-55 midway through the second half.
A conventional 3-point play by Hannah Johnson and five straight scores by Caitlin Rorman narrowed the gap to two points with?JCC still on top 65-63.
The Bucs gave up a score off a JCC offensive rebound to fall behind 67-63.
Johnson put the Bucs back in front with consecutive 3-pointers from the left corner giving the Bucs a 69-67 edge.
An offensive rebound and basket by the Huskies’ Melissa Brandt knotted the score at 69-69.
Two turnovers by the Buccaneers led to two easy baskets by the Huskies putting them back on top 73-69.
Johnson scorched the net for another 3-pointer to narrow the deficit to one point. The teams traded baskets making the score 75-74 in favor of the Huskies.
JCC increased their lead to two points when Brandt was fouled and made one of two free throw attempts.
Rorman was fouled and sank both of her charity shots to tie the game at 76-76.
The Huskies called a timeout with just over 18 seconds showing on the clock to diagram a final shot. BEA spoiled their plans creating a turnover that led to Armstrong’s winning shot.
The contest had started off with the Bucs taking a large lead. In fact, less than seven minutes into the game, BEA held a 14 point advantage over the Huskies at 20-6.
JCC whittled away at the deficit by connecting on eight 3-pointers to decrease the Bucs’ advantage to one point by halftime, trailing BEA 41-40.
The Bucs were led in scoring by Rorman with 30, Johnson with 24, Arika Howard with eight and Armstrong with seven.
Rorman, Johnson and Howard each had seven rebounds followed by Callie Stevermer with six.
Armstrong dished out five assists and had four steals. Johnson added four assists.
BEA converted 13 of 17 free throw attempts. The Bucs held JCC to one 3-pointer in the second half after JCC made eight shots from behind the arc in the first half.
BEA 63, USC 45
The Buccaneers advanced to the championship game of their holiday tournament with a 63-45 win over the United South Central Rebels in the opening round of the tournament.
BEA established control early in the game with USC unable to score their first field goal of the game until 8:23 was left in the first half. By that time the Buccaneers had built a 20-5 lead.
Senior Caitlin Rorman did the majority of the scoring damage for BEA in the first half. The 5-ft-11 forward scored 20 of the Buccaneers’ first 25 points and she did it in a variety of ways.
She scored on turnaround jump shots, coast to coast drives, steals and off inbound plays. She also nailed a 3-pointer to add to her total. She was also the beneficiary of many assists from her teammates who forced a number of USC turnovers in the first half and would feed Rorman heading to the basket.
The end result was BEA holding a 41-22 halftime lead.
USC outscored BEA 23-22 in the second half and closed the gap to 14 points at one time but never seriously threatened the Bucs.
Rorman led all players with 35 points. Arika Howard moved into the starting lineup in place of Alyssa Ripley and responded with 13 points and five assists. Ripley was sidelined while recovering from wisdom tooth surgery.
Ta Armstrong also had five assists. Callie Stevermer led the Bucs with nine rebounds.
GHEC/T/ML 57, USC 44
The third place girls game was won by the Granada-Huntly-East Chain/Truman/Martin Luther Jaguars over the USC Rebels by a score of 57-44.
The Jaguars rallied from a 24-19 halftime deficit to get the win by outscoring the Rebels 38-20 in the second half.
Senior forward Lydia Studer led the Jags with 15 points while sophomore center Katie Dylla was the Rebels’ leading scorer with 17 points.