By virtue of a 15-4 first quarter, the visiting Alburnett girls’ basketball team forced Beckman into a rally game that fell just short Jan. 28, 46-41.

The Blazers couldn’t find anything to drop in that first frame while allowing the visitors free reign from pretty much the whole floor. They dropped threes on the Blazers, inside shots and free throws and only a 10-footer from Lauren Osterhaus midway through the frame and a Kennedy Arens steal and coast-to-coast inside of a minute left kept them from being scoreless.

The Blazers still trailed by 13 at halftime, 26-13, but came out of the locker room rejuvenated. Arens drilled an opening three, added a lay-in, two free throws and another three, along with a Lil McDermott steal and basket, in the first five minutes to help them cut the margin to 28-25. When McDermott hit from the arc and Shelby Pirc converted both bonus shots, it was 30-28 Blazers with two minutes left in the third quarter. A Hailey Carolan lay-in knotted it at 30 before the frame ended.

Then it was basket-for-basket, with the Pirates hitting the first five points and the Blazers matching with a Keeley Schmitt two-footer off an Osterhaus feed and Pirc free throws, making it 35-34. Carolan, who ended up the high scorer of the game with 16, hit again but then the Blazers took over, getting a long two from Osterhaus, a lay-up-plus-one from McDermott and a bunny from Pirc off a McDermott pass for a 41-37 lead.

But the Pirates began trips to the bonus line, hitting their next 6-of-6, to edge ahead 43-41. When it was time for the Blazers to return that favor, they missed 6-of-6 and stayed down by a basket. The Pirates made three of their next six free throws for the final tally.

Coach Chad Thomason bemoaned the beginning of the game. “We came out as flat as we possibly could tonight. We were trying to come back the rest of the game. We can’t expect to win by just showing up. We need to come out with some purpose and urgency. Hopefully, this wakes us up, trying to finish the season strong.”

Individual stats include: scoring — Arens 15 (three threes), Pirc nine, McDermott eight (one), Osterhaus five, Schmitt four; rebounds — Pirc 13, Schmitt five, Arens three, Osterhaus and Jenna Lansing two; steals — Arens seven, Pirc two, Osterhaus and McDermott one; blocks — Lansing one; assists — Arens three, Osterhaus and McDermott two, Pirc and Schmitt one; turnovers — 11.