A week of boy-girl varsity combinations ended at home with a non-conference battle with Cascade, Dec. 19, for the Blazers. The girls fell, 47-35, and the boys got that back with an easy 55-19 victory.

Seldom have the Blazers solved the vaunted Cascade zone defense as easily as they did with this win. Making 10-of-17 three-pointers didn’t hurt any, helping them attack the zone when they felt like it.

Mason White opened the game with one of the long balls, Jack Gehling and Logan Burchard added bunnies and White stole a pass and converted at the other end for a 9-0 lead with 3:44 left in the first frame.

Runs like that put the game in Blazer hands throughout the night. It was 11-5 at the end of that frame and four threes in the second grew the margin to 28-9 by halftime. Three of the long balls came from Logan Goedken in that quarter, the other from Burchard.

The onslaught kept up in the third quarter as the Blazers added to the margin and led 37-15. When White ended the frame with a lay-up, then opened the fourth with a three, a lay-in and two free throws, it was 44-15. Gallagher’s three made it 47-15. A Cole McDermott hook kept the continuous clock from starting, for a short time, but another Gallagher three, and free throws from Ryan Burchard set it in motion with about three minutes left in the game. Ryan Burchard ended the Blazer scoring with another three.

“Coming off an emotional win (Friday) and with them being off a few days, we knew it was a spot where we could have let up. We knew our defensive intensity was going to be something they couldn’t show in practice. We talked about maintaining our confidence even if we weren’t scoring, a huge key when facing their zone. We did a great job early of being patient and finding open guys inside and out.

“After Cascade had to turn up some of the aggression, we were able to move the ball quickly and did a great job moving to force their defense into difficult decisions. We got great shots all night and played a great team game.

“I am super proud of the effort on both ends. You don’t often shoot above 50% and hold a team below 30% in a season. This was a big win heading into break. We need to focus on how we get better while finding a spot to bottle up this confidence for us when we start a very difficult January. When we compete every play, we are a tough team to stop/score against,” concluded coach Michael Molony.

The girls battled, especially in the third quarter and cut the margin to just four points, 22-18, but eventually ran out of steam and fell 47-35. The Cougars got scoring from two main players, Ally Hoffman (18) and Alyssa Lux (15), and the Blazer D couldn’t contain them long enough. An unanswered stretch of scoring in the fourth, from Faith Bower (four), Hoffman (five) and Lux (two) sealed the game for the Cougars, even though Keeley Schmitt and Kennedy Arens hit tallies to end the game. The Blazers just couldn’t get enough of them for the win.

Coach Chad Thomason explained, “They do a great job in the two-three (defense) and especially block out well. We need to do a better job attacking during the whole game rather than just a quarter and a half. This was a tough one to lose.

“You can still see Sconsa’s (coach recovering from a medical problem) fingerprints all over that team. We need to be able to match that intensity.”

Beckman’s leaders in the boys’ game were: scoring — White 19 (three treys), Goedken nine (three), Goedken six (two), Gehling six, Logan and Ryan Burchard five (one), Hermsen five; rebounds — Gallagher and Gehling six, Goedken four, Hermsen and White two, Logan and Ryan Burchard, Jude Brehm and Eric Heinrichs one; blocks — Hermsen three, Gehling one; steals — White six, Gallagher two, Gehling and Nate Schaefer one; assists — Goedken six, Gallagher four, Hermsen, Schaefer and Gehling two, Logan Burchard one; team turnovers — five.

Leading the Beckman girls were: scoring — Lauren Osterhaus and Arens 10 (one), Schmitt six, Lil McDermott five, Jenna Lansing and Shelby Pirc two; rebounds — Lansing, Pirc and Arens six, Kam Klas five, Osterhaus and Schmitt three; steals — Osterhaus five, Klas two, Arens one; blocks — Klas, Osterhaus and Lansing one; assists — Osterhaus four, Klas two, Arens one; team turnovers — 10.