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BEA downed by Fairmont

Boys battle against the Cards

December 10, 2017
Robert Brewer - Register Staff Writer , Faribault County Register

The Fairmont Cardinals (3-0) outgunned the upstart Blue Earth Area Buccaneers (1-2) last Thursday night by a score of 64-52.

Throughout the first half, it was a hotly contested affair with neither team able to pull ahead for very long. BEA relied on the scoring of sophomore sharpshooter Grant Strukel, and the big play ability of guard Austin Thielfoldt to inject life into the home crowd.

While Strukel made the Cardinal defense pay with his quick release from downtown, Thielfoldt's trademark hustle was on full display. A pirouette layup in transition, followed by a blocked three point attempt by Thielfoldt late in the first half sent Bucs fans into a frenzy. With 4:16 to go in the half, the Buccaneers enjoyed a 23-20 lead over their rivals from Fairmont.

Article Photos

BEA’s Jacob Vaske flys high over the Cardinal defense last Thursday night as he takes aim at the basket against Fairmont in front of the home crowd.

As the second half, things started to slip away for the Bucs. The Cardinals offensive execution, combined with their defensive intensity were too much for BEA to handle. With 8:04 remaining, Fairmont took advantage of Blue Earth Area's cold shooting and went ahead by a score of 50-43.

The Cardinals continued to add to their lead as their advantage ballooned to double digits with seven minutes remaining in the ballgame.

Although the odds were stacked against Blue Earth Area heading down the stretch, they continued to battle. With 1:53 remaining, Strukel's competitive spirit was very evident as he dove for a loose ball in an attempt to save his team's offensive possession.

Unfortunately, the play resulted in an upper left arm injury that forced him out of the game for good. Strukel walked off the court on his own power and ended the evening with a team high 21 points.

BEA took on Redwood Valley on Saturday, Dec. 9 as part of the Big South Conference Showcase. Results from this game will be available in next week's edition of the Faribault County Register.

BEA 73, LCWM 45

Things started off slowly for the Blue Earth Area Buccaneers in their home opener against Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial last Monday night. After falling behind 12-4 in the early stages of the first half, the BEA offense got busy.

Blue Earth Area's expert marksman Grant Strukel found soft spots along the perimeter of the LCWM defense and took advantage of late reactions by several defenders. Strukel's prowess from downtown helped propel the Bucs on a dominating 21-3 run in the first half.

With 18 points by halftime, Strukel ended the game with a career-high total of 23. This included four field goals from beyond the arc. Buccaneer boys head coach Colby Swanson credits Strukel's hard work in the off season as the reason for his hot shooting.

"Grant was really shooting the ball well," Swanson said. "He's put a lot of work into his shot, and he shot it really well over the summer. It's good to see that paying off."

Enjoying a nine point lead at the break, the Bucs eventually outscored the Knights 34-15 in the second half. According to Swanson, the key to success was BEA's pressure on defense that led to easy offense and several opportunities in transition.

"A big reason it happened is because of our effort defensively," Swanson explained. "We had a lot of deflections, and a lot of tipped balls. Our defensive effort was huge for us."

In particular, guard Bobby Lindsey served as a main catalyst for a number of Blue Earth Area's fast break opportunities. After the game, coach Swanson praised the senior's active hands in the passing lanes.

"Bobby plays at the top of our 1-3-1 zone," Swanson added. That's a hard spot to play, but he did a fantastic job. Because of his effort, because of his deflections, it led to a lot of easy baskets."



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