Hosting Solon, the top team in the WaMaC East, Jan. 8, the Beckman girls’ basketball team gave the Spartans everything they could handle, eventually falling, 43-40.
The Blazers matched them basket-for-basket for much of the game, only giving up a 17-10 lead to end the first quarter. But after Solon’s leading scorer and freshman Callie Levin grew it to 19-10, the Blazers came roaring back.
Shelby Pirc took a Lil McDermott dish for a lay-in, added one of two free throws. The second miss was quickly rebounded by Lauren Osterhaus and the margin was 19-15. McDermott got her chance at the line, making the first and getting a third attempt after missing because of a lane violation, cutting it to 19-17. When McDermott hit a jumper from the free throw line, it was all knotted at 19 with a little over five minutes to go in the half. And then Jenna Lansing rebounded her own miss for a 21-19 lead.
A team with a 7-1 record coming in doesn’t go away easily. Levin hit, then Ellyse Holubar scored from the arc and Ava Stebral converted her steal for a 26-21 lead, cut to 26-22 with one of two Kennedy Arens free throws before the half ended.
Levin began the second half but both McDermott and Arens connected and they trailed 28-26. Back-to-back Lansing tallies and a bunny from Arens put them ahead, 32-30, before Solon’s Hailey Miller came off the bench to hit two threes for a 36-34 lead at the quarter.
Solon seemed a little put off by Beckman’s D and became tentative in their shots. That only worked to the Blazers’ advantage, as Arens hit one of two charity shots and Pirc finally put back a rebound miss to trail 38-37. Arens went coast to coast to edge ahead 39-38 before Levin drilled a long ball and converted a steal for a 43-39 edge. Keeley Schmitt made one of two free throws for the final mark.
“This was a really tough one to lose,” claimed coach Chad Thomason. “I thought we did all the little things better but we just need to have some urgency at the end of the game. Our defense kept us in the game. I was so proud of our fight and toughness.”
The Blazers had hosted Marion and built an early lead in their game, Jan. 5, leading 7-0. But the Indians woke up and took the game 47-42.
To say the Indians woke up is pretty much accurate, as the first 16 points of the game came from just one player, Ella Van Weelden, while the rest of the team watched. It was Van Weelden 16- Blazers 15 with two minutes to go in the first half. Blazer scoring came from everybody, with Kam Klas (four), Arens (five), Schmitt (two) and Osterhaus and McDermott (one) all contributing.
Van Weelden scored her third trey of the game seconds later for a 19-15 lead before teammates Sadie Struchen and Jenna Heinricy got the final four points for a 23-15 halftime margin.
Blazer D on Van Weelden limited her to five second-half points, but the Indians took advantage of that double and triple-teaming to hit the open player, building the lead to 30-20 with 4:36 to go. Then it was time for the Blazers. McDermott drilled her second straight trey, followed by one from Arens, a putback from Osterhaus, two free throws from Arens and one-of-two from Lansing to cut the lead to 32-31 going into the final quarter.
It was nip and tuck at the start of that frame, with Marion getting a basket, answered by a free throw from Arens. Van Weelden added a lay-in, Pirc matched it with free throws, 36-34. Two Marion lay-ins upped the mark to 40-34, but Arens took two back at the line, 40-36. She added a steal and lay-up and a free throw to make it 40-39, but then the free throws stopped falling for the Blazers. The Indians made 6-of-6, the Blazers missed 5-of-6 and only an Arens three at the buzzer contributed to the final mark.
“This was a tough loss tonight,” said coach Chad Thomason. “We played so hard but didn’t take care of the little things at the end. Missed free throws and defensive mistakes were the difference. They are a very good team and we matched their intensity. I am proud of our girls.”
Individual stats include: scoring — Arens 20 (two threes), McDermott six (two), Klas, Osterhaus and Pirc four, Schmitt two, Lansing one; rebounds — Osterhaus 13, Pirc and Lansing six, McDermott, Schmitt and Arens three, Klas two; blocks — Pirc two, Lansing one; steals — Arens four, Klas and Osterhaus three, McDermott two; assists — Osterhaus and McDermott two, Arens and Schmitt one; team turnovers — 13.
Individual leaders in the Solon game: scoring — Arens 16, Lansing 11, McDermott six, Pirc five, Osterhaus two; rebounds — Pirc eight, Arens six, Lansing five, Osterhaus four, Schmitt one; steals — Arens seven, Lansing three, Osterhaus, McDermott and Schmitt one; blocks —
Osterhaus two; assists —
McDermott two, Osterhaus and Arens one; team turnovers — 18.