Hosting a three-win Clayton Ridge team Feb. 9, the Beckman girls walked away with a 49-28 win, sending them to the next round of regional play, Feb. 12 against Bellevue there.
The Blazers (11-10) used a series of runs and tenacious defense to stop the Eagles. They racked up a total of 26 steals in the game and grabbed 30 rebounds, controlling the ball and the game. But the Eagles did draw first blood, a Victoria Breitbach two-footer for a 2-0 lead with 20 seconds gone in the game. But that is also when the first of three runs kicked in for the Blazers.
After Jess Lueken tied it and went ahead with a free throw, the Blazers added six more points in the next three minutes for a 9-2 lead, one they never lost during the rest of the game. During the run, it was Paige McDermott with a lay-in off a Sydney Arens pass and a Haley LeGrand bunny off a Sydney Steffen pass, followed by two-of-three free throws.
When the Eagles cut it to 10-7, Tara Hansel hit a free throw to begin another run that ended the first quarter and opened the second. McDermott missed a free throw but Hansel rebounded it and made the lay-in as well as getting fouled for another point,13-7. Steffen converted another offensive board to make it 15-7 with two minutes gone in the second quarter. Abrianna Moore made it 15-9 but the Blazers answered with four straight baskets, from Arens (two), Ashley Engelken and Olivia Pirc, 23-9.By half they led 30-12.
Steffen took charge in the third quarter, scoring eight of her team-high 13, leading her team to a 43-24 advantage at the break. The bench came in during the final two minutes and the last basket came from Kylie Willenbring.
“This was a very hard-fought game tonight,” said coach Chad Thomason. “It was a very physical game and I thought that took us out of our game somewhat. But our defense carried us tonight. Anytime you have 26 steals, that is going to create some easy scoring opportunities.”
Steffen and Arens combined for 12 of those steals and Hansel grabbed five. Arens was also in double figures with 11 (one trey).
Other individual stats include: scoring — Hansel and Engelken five, LeGrand and Pirc four, Lueken three, McDermott and Willenbring two; rebounds — Hansel 10, Arens six, Lueken four, Steffen and McDermott three, Pirc, Willenbring, Kristi Bries and Keeley Schmitt one; steals — Engelken four, Lueken, Pirc, LeGrand, McDermott and Bries one; blocks — Hansel and Steffen one; assists — Hansel four, Engelken and Steffen three, Arens two, Bries and McDermott one.