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Girls lose one, win one to begin year

Three girls score in double figures in victory over GHEC/ML/T

By Kevin Mertens - Staff Writer | Jan 24, 2021

Arika Howard drives through the lane and the Jaguar defenders for two points during the Bucs’ game last Tuesday, Jan. 19. BEA used clutch free throw shooting during the final minutes of the contest to hold on to the lead and seal the victory. Howard led the team with 18 points and also pulled down six rebounds.

Three Buccaneer girls reached double figures in scoring and Blue Earth Area held on to defeat the Granada-Huntley-East Chain/Martin Luther/Truman Jaguars 51-47 in basketball action in Blue Earth on Monday, Jan. 18.

BEA’s Arika Howard led all players with 18 points. Senior teammates Téa Armstrong and McKenna Dutton each chipped in 12 points in the winning effort.

The score remained close throughout the game with neither team leading by more than five points until there was 26 seconds left in the game. With the Jaguars forced into a fouling situation in order to get the ball back, Armstrong calmly went to the charity stripe and swished two free throws to increase BEA’s lead to seven points.

The visitors went down the court and scored another basket to cut the Bucs’ margin to five points before fouling Dutton with 13.4 seconds remaining in the game. The five-foot-nine forward sank both free throws to close out the scoring for the game and give the Maroon-and-Gold their seven-point win.

It was a battle for the BEA squad all night as they tried to keep the taller players from the Jaguars from scoring easy baskets in the paint.

GHEC/ML/T worked their inside game early and held a slim lead through the opening minutes of the contest.

Trailing 12-9 six and a half minutes into the game, the Bucs’ Armstrong drove to the basket for a layup. On BEA’s next possession Armstrong passed it to Howard who lost her defender with a backdoor cut. Howard laid the ball in for an easy two points to put the home team on top 13-12.

The teams exchanged the lead through the rest of the opening stanza with the Bucs clinging to a two-point lead as the first half ended.

The Jaguars opened the second half with two quick baskets to take a 29-27 lead. However, Dutton’s basket from the corner of the free-throw line tied the game at 29 each.

The score was tied again at 38-38 with 8:38 left in the game before both teams went on a scoring drought which lasted over three minutes.

Howard broke the tie with a free throw and on the Bucs’ next possession the senior drove the lane for another basket and a three-point BEA lead.

The Jags scored again to cut the Bucs’ lead to one point at 41-40.

Consecutive baseline jumpers by Lauren Schavey and Dutton put BEA up by five. A bucket by the Jaguars narrowed the gap to three points.

Following a timeout, GHEC/ML/T came out in a full-court press. The Bucs broke the press and the resulting layup by Dutton gave BEA a 47-42 lead and their clutch free-throw shooting enabled them to hold on for the 51-44 victory.

The other players to score for the Bucs were Cali Beyer with five points and Schavey with four.

Eloise Blair was the leading rebounder for BEA with eight while Howard tallied six boards.

The win improved the Bucs’ overall record to 1-1 while the Jaguars record fell to 1-1, having won their first game against Nicollet/Loyola.

St. Peter 67, BEA 30

The Blue Earth Area girls basketball team found the going a little tough in their season-opening game at St. Peter on Saturday, Jan. 16. The Saints raced out to an early lead and took a 46-19 advantage into the locker room at half time on their way to a 67-30 Big South Conference victory.

St. Peter shot 46 percent from the field while BEA struggled finding their range, shooting less than 20 percent. Neither team shot well behind the 3-point line. The Bucs did not make any of their eight 3-point attempts while the Saints were only 4 for 23 from behind the arc.

St. Peter outrebounded BEA by a 37-26 margin and had 13 steals to eight for the Bucs.

Eloise Blair led BEA with 10 points and six rebounds. Arika Howard also recorded six rebounds while scoring eight points.

The Bucs did do well at the free-throw line. They made 18 of their 20 attempts. Blair made all six of her free throws while Maddie Schiltz was perfect on all four of her shots from the charity stripe.