Girls hold on for victory over Jags
The Blue Earth Area Buccaneers survived a late rally attempt by the Granada-Huntley-East Chain/Truman/Martin Luther Jaguars to gain their first victory of the season by a score of 56-48.
A basket by Kaitlin Johnson had given BEA their biggest lead of the evening at 41-27, but a 21-7 run by GHEC/T/ML tied the game at 48 with two minutes remaining in the final stanza.
However, the Bucs closed the contest on an 8-0 run to pocket the win.
“We are not used to playing with the lead,” Bucs’ coach Al Cue said. “But the girls regrouped and pulled out the win.”
BEA opened the scoring with Arika Howard hitting a jumper from the corner for a 2-0 lead. Johnson would make it 4-0 when she scored on an in-bounds play.
The game stayed close throughout the first half. The Jags tied the score for the third time in the opening stanza at 10-10 before the Bucs reeled off six consecutive points to take a 16-10 lead.
A running jumper by Eloise Blair put BEA up 20-14 but GHEC/T/ML closed out the first half by scoring the final four points to make it 20-18 in favor of the Bucs heading into the second half.
Howard, who scored only two points in the first half, came out on fire in the second half.
After Johnson scored a layup to give the Bucs a 22-18 lead, Howard went to work.
First, she muscled the ball away from a Jaguar’s player underneath BEA’s basket and then converted it into two points for the Bucs. Next, she grabbed an offensive rebound and went back up for another basket and a 26-18 lead for the home team. Then she put her head down and drove through the Jag’s defense for a layup to put the Bucs on top 28-18.
Ta Armstrong increased BEA’s lead to 31-18 with a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 15 minutes left in the game.
The Jaguars did not quit and used a pressure defense and clutch 3-point shooting to tie the game at 48.
Armstrong’s pass to Kiera Osmundson resulted in the go-ahead basket to give BEA a 50-48 lead. Osmundson drew a foul and made one of two free throws to increase the Bucs’ lead to 51-48.
Howard then grabbed a defensive rebound and took it coast-to-coast for a layup and two points while drawing a foul against the Jaguars. Howard converted the shot from the charity stripe to put the Bucs up by six at 54-48.
Armstrong closed out the scoring with two free throws to give BEA the 56-48 victory.
“It feels real good to get that first win,” Cue said. “The girls are working hard and they are making improvements.”
Howard’s 16 point outburst in the second half gave her 18 for the game to lead all players in scoring. Armstrong made three of her five three-point attempts along with three free throws to finish with 12 points. Johnson also hit double figures in scoring with 10.
The Bucs outrebounded the Jags 40-31. Howard finished with 12 boards and Osmundson with eight.
BEA shot 45.7 percent from the floor while GHEC/T/ML shot 29 percent.
Both teams attempted 21 free throws. The Bucs made 11 while the Jags made 8.
BEA committed 29 turnovers to 28 for GHEC/T/ML.
The win gives the Bucs a record of 1-7. The Jags dropped to 5-4 with the loss.