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St. James outlasts BEA, wins 51-43

Saints sink 20 of 24 free throws to thwart Bucs comeback attempt

By Kevin Mertens - Staff Writer | Mar 14, 2021

BEA’s Arika Howard looks to score against St. James in their game on Thursday, March 11.

When Blue Earth Area and St. James met on the basketball court less than two weeks ago, the Saints pulled away early and won by 22 points.

The two teams met again on Thursday, March 11, in Blue Earth. This time the Saints had to stage a second-half rally to go home with a 51-43 victory.

St. James had a big edge in free throws. The Saints went to the charity stripe 24 times and made 20 of their shots. The Bucs had 11 free- throw attempts and made four.

It was a low-scoring first half. St. James scored the first basket to go up 2-0. McKenna Dutton’s baseline jumper went through the hoop to tie the game and Arika Howard put the Bucs ahead 4-2 with a short jumper.

The Saints scored again to tie the game at 4-4 but Howard’s drive down the lane put the Bucs on top 6-4. BEA would hold on to the lead for the remainder of the first half and took an 18-14 lead into the locker room at the intermission.

Howard scored the opening basket of the second half before St. James tallied 14 unanswered points to take a 28-20 lead.

The Bucs slowly worked to erase the lead. With five minutes left in the game, Maddie Schiltz scored off of an inbounds pass to put BEA on top 35-34. A backdoor pass from Schiltz to Eloise Blair led to a layup and increased the Bucs’ lead to 37-34.

St. James regained the lead with three minutes left in the game. With 2:08 on the clock BEA was still within two points but the Saints pulled away to go home with an eight-point victory.

BEA shot 46 percent from 2-point range and 25 percent from 3-point range.

Sophomore center Sophie Keister was the leading scorer for the Bucs with 12 points. Howard finished with 10, Dutton tallied nine and Blair added seven.

Howard and Blair each had six rebounds. Blair also led the team with seven assists.

BEA was seeded seventh in the Section 2AA South Subsection and will travel to Waseca on Wednesday, March 17, to take on the No. 2-seeded Waseca Bluejays in the opening round of the basketball playoffs.

Fairmont 35, BEA 22

The first time the girls basketball teams from Fairmont and Blue Earth Area met it was on Fairmont’s court and BEA came home with the win.

When the two teams met again on Tuesday, March 9, it was in Blue Earth and this time it was the Cardinals who pocketed the victory, downing the Bucs 35-22.

The low-scoring contest had the Cardinals in the lead 8-2 midway through the first half. Fairmont led by as many as 12 points at 15-3 before BEA put together a nine-point run to narrow the Cardinal’s advantage to 15-12.

Eloise Blair started the comeback with a hard-fought two points from underneath the basket.

Then Arika Howard took over. The senior guard drove the lane for two points. Fellow senior McKenna Dutton found Howard cutting down the lane and Howard took the pass and put the ball through the hoop for two more points.

Fairmont’s lead was now 15-9 and they had a chance to break BEA’s run but the Cards missed two free throws. The Bucs took advantage of the situation and Téa Armstrong found Howard on a backdoor cut which led to a basket and a foul.

Howard made the free throw to complete the traditional 3-point play and Fairmont’s lead was down to three points at 15-12.

The Cardinals regained some momentum when Maggy Totzke hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to give Fairmont an 18-12 lead at the half.

Fairmont scored the first six points of the second half to open up a 24-12 lead. The Bucs did not score their first points of the closing stanza until Dutton hit a runner with 12:48 remaining in the game.

It would be as close as the Bucs would come and the Cardinals went home with the 13-point win.

BEA was 8 of 29 from 2-point range while Fairmont was slightly better, making 9 of 27 2-point attempts.

The Bucs were unsuccessful on all three of their shots from outside of the arc while Fairmont was 5 of 17 on 3-point shots.

BEA held a 32-24 advantage in rebounds but turned the ball over 22 times compared to only 10 turnovers for Fairmont.

Howard scored eight points for the Bucs while Blair tallied six. The two guards led the team in rebounding with eight apiece.

RWV 74, BEA 34

The Blue Earth Area girls basketball team ran into a hot-shooting Redwood Valley Cardinals’ squad when the two teams met on March 5, in Redwood Falls. The Bucs fell to the Cardinals by a final score of 74-34.

The Cardinals were 21of 27 from 2-point range for a success rate of 77.8 percent. They made 41.7 percent of their shots from behind the arc, sinking 10 of 24 shots.

Meanwhile the Bucs were successful on 15 of 34 attempts, or 44.1 percent, from inside of the arc but went 0 for 12 on 3-point attempts.

The Cardinals also led in rebounds by a 35-21 margin.

Redwood Valley took control of the game early and never trailed on their way to a 34-14 lead at intermission.

The Cardinals continued their success in the second half and outscored the Bucs 40-20 in the final 18 minutes of play.

Two BEA players reached double figures in scoring. Senior guard Arika Howard led the team with 14 points while sophomore guard Eloise Blair finished the contest with 10 points.

Howard and Blair were the leading rebounders for the Bucs with four each.

Téa Armstrong led BEA with six assists.

BEA’s record drops to 4-10 overall. Redwood Valley won their sixth consecutive game to improve to 8-6.