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Bucs lose close game to the Eagles

Also suffer road loss to the much-improved St. James Saints

By Kevin Mertens - Staff Writer | Mar 7, 2021

Maddie Schiltz goes up for a shot at a recent game in Blue Earth.

The Blue Earth Area girls basketball team fell behind by 12 points in the early going of their game on Monday night, March. 1, against the host New Ulm Eagles. The Bucs fought back and closed the gap to three points in the final minutes of the game but were unable to overtake their Big South Conference opponent and the Eagles were victorious 70-66.

BEA scored the first point of the evening on an Arika Howard free throw but New Ulm answered with a 3-pointer to go up 3-1. Howard sank two more shots from the charity stripe to tie the game but then the Eagles went on a 12-0 run to open up a 15-3 lead.

Two baskets by Howard broke New Ulm’s scoring streak and Eloise Blair added two free throws for the Bucs to make the score 15-9 in favor of the Eagles.

Following two free throws by New Ulm, Cali Beyer swished a 3-pointer to cut the Eagles’ lead to five points at 17-12. The teams matched baskets for most of the remainder of the first half with New Ulm taking a 34-26 lead at the break.

The Eagles were leading 58-48 when Blair scored off an assist from Téa Armstrong to make the score 58-50. Moments later Armstrong found Howard on a back-door cut for an easy layup to trim New Ulm’s lead to 58-52. A drive and basket by Howard had the Bucs within four points of their opponents but a fast break by the Eagles made the score 60-54 with the home team on top.

Three free throws by Armstrong brought the Bucs to within three points of the Eagles at 60-57. New Ulm responded with a free throw and a basket to go up by a score of 63-57 with 2:52 remaining in the contest.

Seniors Armstrong and Howard combined for another back-door cut and layup to pull the Bucs within four points of the Eagles again.

New Ulm outscored BEA 6-2 over the next minute to open up an eight-point lead at 69-61 with 1:02 left. The Bucs cut the lead to four points again but the clock ran out and New Ulm claimed the victory.

BEA shot 50 percent from inside the arc, making 17 of their 34 shots. They made 5 of 18 3-point attempts and 17 of 33 shots from the charity stripe.

The Bucs outrebounded the Eagles by a 32-26 margin.

Howard led the team in scoring and rebounding with 22 points and eight rebounds. Armstrong finished with 11 points and five rebounds. Cali Beyer also reached double figures in scoring with 10 points. McKenna Dutton and Sophie Keister each tallied eight points with Keister having seven rebounds. Blair finished the night with seven points and seven rebounds.

St. James 71, BEA 49

The Blue Earth Area girls basketball team traveled to St. James on Saturday, Feb. 27, to take on the Saints in a Big South Conference contest. The Saints, who came into the game with a record of 6-2, downed the Bucs 71-49.

The scoring for both halves of the game was very similar. St. James led 36-24 at half time and outscored BEA 35-25 in the second half.

The Bucs held a 44-31 edge in rebounding but the Saints were the better shooting team in this game.

St. James hit 21 of 36 shots from 2-point range. Their 58 percent success was 27 percent better than BEA, who made 15 of 48 attempts from 2-point range. The Saints also went to the free-throw line 26 times and made 14 of their free throws. Meanwhile, the Bucs made only four of their 12 shots from the charity stripe.

The Bucs held the lead early in the game before the Saints took control midway through the first half and then extended their lead in the second half.

BEA was led by Arika Howard with 15 points and Téa Armstrong with 11 points. Cali Beyer added seven points while Lauren Schavey, McKenna Dutton and Sophie Keister each had four points.

Howard was very active on the boards where she pulled down 18 rebounds. Eloise Blair recorded seven rebounds.

Armstrong led the team with seven assists.