Maybe, if the Beckman girls’ basketball team could play through halftime, the third quarter wouldn’t come up to bite them so often.
As it is, that quarter stymied what was to that point an upset bid of Class 4A’s, No. 10 and still undefeated Central DeWitt Jan. 3 at Beckman. The Sabers prevailed with a 62-52 win after out-pointing the Blazers, 14-7, in the third quarter.
The first half was a study in defense and made opportunities. The Sabers found themselves trailing much of the first quarter, down 8-6 on a Paige McDermott lay-in, then 9-8 on a McDermott free throw. Kennedy Arens got into the mix with a rebound make of a missed free throw from Lauren Osterhaus and the Blazers led 12-10 with just under two minutes to go in the frame. Osterhaus answered an Allison Meadows three to keep them ahead 15-13 and Keeley Schmitt hit one-of-two free throws to make it 16-13. But the Sabers did manage to pull ahead in the last seconds and lead 18-16 at the break.
Their lead didn’t last when Arens pushed through a bunny to knot it seconds into the next quarter. The Sabers edged ahead 22-18 but Olivia Pirc took an Ashley Engelken pass for an under-the-basket lay-in to cut it to 22-20. Saber point leader Taylor Veach and Meadows combined in a period of two minutes for their next 10 points and a 32-22 lead with about 2:15 to go in the half. Schmitt took two of those away, Arens hit a free throw, Osterhaus and Pirc put in little jumpers and the margin was just four by halftime, 35-31.
Enter the third quarter doldrums that have plagued the Blazers in the last few games. Veach and Meadows combined for 11 points and the Blazers could only hit the net once, a McDermott trey. They missed two of five free throws as well and were down 49-38 to enter the fourth quarter.
The margin grew to 52-38 on a Taylor Kinney triple and then ballooned to 56-39 on Veach tallies. It was 62-44 when the Saber bench came in and the Blazers did take advantage, scoring the final nine points, a Kamryn Klas lay-in to go with one from Arens, who added a free throw and buzzer-beating triple for the final margin.
“I was very proud of our effort tonight,” said coach Chad Thomason. “We stayed with a tough 4A ranked DeWitt team. We attacked the basket well and kept good care of the ball (11 turnovers). We had a hard time scoring in the third and only shot 12-of-25 from the free throw line (in the game). Those are things we have to work on.”
Beckman’s leaders were: scoring — Arens 17 (two treys), McDermott and Osterhaus 10 (one), Pirc six, Klas four, Schmitt three, Engelken and Makayla Koelker one; rebounds — McDermott and Osterhaus five, Arens four, Schmitt and Engelken three, Klas, Pirc and Kristi Bries one; steals — Schmitt four, Arens two, Osterhaus and Klas one; blocks — Schmitt and Osterhaus one; assists — Osterhaus five, Engelken three, Koelker and McDermott tow, Schmitt, Bries and Arens one.