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Bucs will be defense-minded team

By Staff | Dec 1, 2019

The girls basketball team has been busy preparing for the upcoming season. Pictured front row left to right: Kate Armon, Jaden Barnett, Sara Hernandez, Téa Armstrong, Lauren Schavey, McKenna Dutton. Back row: Clara Ziegler, Maddie Schiltz, Kiera Osmundson, Eloise Blair, Arika Howard, Kaitlin Johnson, Sophie Kiester. Not pictured: Gabby Haaland, Aubrey Hueper.

Head coach Al Cue and the Blue Earth Area Buccaneers girls basketball team face many challenges as they prepare for the upcoming season.

The Bucs lost six seniors off of last year’s 13-11 squad. Those who graduated were Sidney Blair, Hannah Johnson, Alyssa Ripley, Caitlin Rorman, Callie Stevermer and Gabby Weerts.

Two of those players, Rorman and Johnson, accounted for 80-85 percent of the teams’ scoring and rebounding last season.

Rorman finished her career at BEA as the second leading girls scorer in school history with over 2,000 points.

“It is hard to replace a player like Caitlin,” Cue says. “It is not just the scoring and rebounding, it is also the minutes on the floor we will be missing.”

Stevermer and Ripley are the other two starters who graduated.

Another challenge for the program is the lack of numbers.

“We will not have a C-squad this year,” Cue comments. “We have 15 girls out, including one eighth grader, so we are short on numbers.”

The lone remaining starter returning from last year is junior guard Ta Armstrong.

“We have a lot of kids with little or no varsity experience,” Cue explains.

Seniors Kiera Osmundson, Kaitlin Johnson and junior Arika Howard have the most experience of the other returning hoops athletes.

“The other juniors, McKenna Dutton, Lauren Schavey and Gabby Haaland, will see a lot of court time,” Cue comments. “Ninth grader Eloise Blair will also see a lot of action.”

Other members of the team include sophomores Maddie Schiltz and Aubrey Hueper along with freshmen Jaden Barnett, Sophie Keister, Sara Hernandez and Clara Ziegler. Eighth grader Kate Armon is also on the team.

“We will have to score by committee,” Cue notes. “We do not have any big scorers.”

Practice began on Nov. 11. The seal coat on the gym floor at the high school was still curing so the team has been working out at the Pemberton gym and Unity Hall at the high school.

“We are spending a lot of time focusing on defense and rebounding,” Cue says. “We are vertically challenged so we will have to work hard on the boards.”

The girls open the season on the road at Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial on Dec. 6, before participating in the Big South Conference Showcase which will be held at Jackson County Central High School on Saturday, Dec. 7.

The squad stays on the road for four more games before hosting their first home game of the season on Tuesday, Dec. 20, against the New Ulm Eagles.

The sections were also realigned before the start of the school year. BEA remains in Section 2AASouth. St.?Peter and Waterville-Elysian-Morristown are no longer in the section and have been replaced by Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton and Waseca.

“I look for Waseca to be very tough,” Cue states. “Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial and Medford also have very nice teams.”

The Bucs face their I-90 rival Fairmont on Jan. 3, 2020, on the road and then play host to the Cardinals on Feb. 7.

BEA will play their final regular season game on Feb. 18, when St. James comes to town.

Playoffs begin with Sub-section games beginning Monday, Feb. 24.

The Girls’ State Basketball Tournament begins on Wednesday, March 11, and will conclude with the crowning of a state champion on Saturday, March 14.