Beckman’s girls’ basketball team completed its 2019-20 season with a record, not unlike many (six of nine) of the past seasons, 9-14.
In the past nine seasons, the Blazers have won more than nine games in just two, the most recent two seasons — 2018-19 was 12-11, 2018-17 was 12-10 for a small Class 2A team in a predominantly 3A-4A conference. They began this year with six straight wins before hitting the bulk of the big school competition.
“I thought we had a successful year,” said coach Chad Thomason. “We play in one of the toughest conferences in the state for our size. We are constantly playing ranked 4A teams, which I think prepares us for our districts.”
“We will miss this group of seniors a lot,” continued Thomason. “They are one of the most successful groups to come through Beckman, not just in basketball but in everything they do. Their leadership was outstanding and that will be something we need to take care of next year.”
That senior group included Paige McDermott, Olivia Pirc, Kristi Bries and Ashley Engelken.
McDermott was second on the team in rebounds (123, 5.3 per game), third in points (208) and in three-point shots made (12-of-30), though her percentage of made threes paced the team by far (40%) as did her shooting percentage for twos (45.3%). She was also third in blocks (eight), and fourth in steals (33) and assists (23).
Pirc patrolled the lane and was fourth in scoring (153), blocks (seven) and rebounds (81), third in steals (39).
When Bries entered the game, you knew she was shooting threes and she made 25% of them. She also notched 17 steals and 15 assists.
Engelken missed much of the season due to injury but came back to help the team in the post-season, providing some needed experience at the point. In the games she played, she dished 29 assists (third), grabbed 25 steals (fifth), pulled in 23 boards and tallied 67 points.
The Blazers will look to several underclassmen who gained a ton of playing experience this season. Sophomore Lauren Osterhaus leads the team in several categories: rebounds (125), steals (66), assists (63) and is second in scoring (242), blocks (11) and treys (18). Junior Kennedy Arens topped the points column (305) as well at the three-pointers (19), was second in assists (49) and steals (60), third in rebounds (111) and blocks (seven). Junior Keeley Schmitt led in blocks (14) and was fifth in rebounds (74).
Other players who got time on the floor were junior Makayla Koelker and freshmen Lil McDermott and Shelby Pirc. Soph Kam Klas also played but was injured and saw limited action.
“We will have a good core group coming back next year, “added Thomason. “They will need to put the work in during the off-season if we want to be successful next year. I feel like this group will be fired up to get better.
“This was a very special group this year. Everyone brought a significant piece to the table throughout the program, grades 9-12. I’m looking forward to seeing how much everyone improves over the summer. With only 17 girls in the program, everyone has to play a lot and be on the same page. It was a fun year.”