BEA advances to Sub-section final
When you’re hot, you’re hot, and the Blue Earth Area boys basketball team was on fire as they defeated the New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva Panthers 70-54 in sub-section basketball action last Thursday evening.
BEA will face the St. Peter Saints in the Class 2AA South Sub-section championship on Monday, March 11, at the Taylor Center in Mankato. Starting time for the game is 6 p.m.
The Bucs scorched the nets against the Panthers, connecting on 10 of 16 3-pointers. They also made 11 of their 20 2-point shots and were successful on 18 of their 23 free throw attempts.
BEA did struggle early in the contest but the Panthers missed numerous inside shots allowing the Bucs to stay close. Even though they had made just one basket through the first three minutes of the game, BEA only trailed NRHEG by three points at 5-2.
Carter Bell lit the fire for the Bucs with a corner 3-pointer. Cameron Anderson stoked the flames with two consecutive baskets from behind the arc. Grant Strukel kept the heat up with another 3-pointer but BEA still trailed the Panthers 15-14.
A steal and ensuing layup by Caelan Sanders put the Bucs up 16-15 and they never trailed again. Austin Thielfoldt took his turn hitting a 3-pointer and BEA took a 19-15 lead with 7:26 left in the first half.
The Bucs biggest lead of the opening half would be seven points with a 24-17 lead. NRHEG outscored BEA 11-6 over the final 2:30 of the opening stanza to make the halftime score 30-28 with the Bucs on top.
Leading 37-32, the Maroon and Gold went on an 8-0 run to take a 13 point lead with 11:54 remaining in the game.
BEA maintained a double-digit lead through the remainder of the game with 14 of their last 16 points being scored at the free throw line.
All five Buc starters reached double figures in scoring.
Anderson led the team with 18 points followed by Thielfoldt with 13. Bell tallied 12 points and Sanders and Strukel each had 11.
The leading rebounder for the Bucs was Anderson with eight. Braden Gudahl led the team with four assists.
BEA, the No. 2-seed, will face No. 1-seeded St. Peter for the third time this season having lost the previous two contests. The Bucs head into the game with a record of 12-12 while the Saints have won 20 games against six losses.
BEA 72, LCWM 38
Any thoughts the No. 7-seeded Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial Knights entertained about pulling off an upset over the No. 2-seeded Blue Earth Area Buccaneers were dashed when the host Bucs started the second half with a 23-0 run.
The flourish of points took BEA from an eight point halftime advantage to a 31-point lead less than seven minutes into the second half. The final score found the Bucs on top 72-38.
LCWM kept the score close in the early portion of the game. In fact, the Knights were leading 10-9 before eight consecutive points by Cameron Anderson put the Bucs on top for good.
Anderson started the run with a jumper just inside the arc. Next, Anderson caught a Braden Gudahl pass in stride and laid it in for another basket. Two more trips down the court resulted in four more points for the sophomore forward to put BEA up 17-10.
A Gudahl to Austin Thielfoldt fast-break made the score 19-10 and forced the Knights to call a timeout with 8:32 to go in the opening half.
Anderson headed to the bench with his second foul 30 seconds later and over the next four minutes LCWM was able to pull within two points of the Bucs at 21-19.
A Caelan Sanders basket off a Carter Bell assist put BEA up by four. The Knights struck back to close the gap to two points before Bell got into the act with a jumper of his own to make it a 25-21 lead for the Maroon and Gold.
Sanders scored the final six points of the half for the Bucs, the final two coming on a jump shot from the free throw line with less than a second left on the clock to give BEA a 31-23 halftime lead.
The Bucs came out on fire in the second half and the Knights could not get the ball to drop in the hoop.
LCWM did not score their first points of the final stanza until almost eight minutes had run off the clock, but by then BEA held a 29-point lead.
Anderson added another double-double to his season statistics with 16 points and 14 rebounds while doling out three assists.
Bell matched Anderson with 16 points and also had three assists.
Also reaching double figures in scoring were Sanders with 14 points and Thielfoldt with 11. Both players had three assists.
Grant Strukel scored five points and had seven steals in the game.