No. 9 Sports Story of the Year: Bucs’ season more surprising than expectedEditor’s Note: The Dickinson Press’ Top 10 sports stories of 2012 countdown continues through Sunday, Dec. 30. Even the best teams can be full of surprises. The Beach girls basketball team proved that in the 2011-12 season.
By: Dustin Monke, The Dickinson Press
Editor’s Note: The Dickinson Press’ Top 10 sports stories of 2012 countdown continues through Sunday, Dec. 30.
Even the best teams can be full of surprises. The Beach girls basketball team proved that in the 2011-12 season.
The Buccaneers’ continued, and sometimes surprising, success in girls basketball is The Dickinson Press’ No. 9 sports story of 2012.
Beach was a near unanimous preseason pick to win Region 7 and reach its third consecutive Class B state tournament last winter. But they sure weren’t expected to do as good as they did, finishing with a 24-3 record and taking third place at state.
It was quite a rebuilding year for head coach Bob Waldal’s “Runnin’ Bucs,” who came into the season having lost three four-year starters, including Miss Basketball candidate Brittney Dietz, all-state guard Abby Weinreis and all-region forward Jill Rising.
After a slow start, the Buccaneers got rolling and never looked back. They were ranked in the top 10 of the Class B media poll all season.
Trailing by as much as 11 in the third quarter of the Region 7 championship game, the Buccaneers rallied to beat Hazen 69-60 in the Region 7 title game.
“We absolutely needed that type of game,” Waldal said after his team won the region title.
A big reason for the great season was senior Kelcee Dykins, a reserve forward up until her senior year, who became the Buccaneers’ star averaging team highs of 17.7 points and 7.9 rebounds per game and earning Class B all-state second team honors.
“I’ve had to wait my turn,” Dykins said in a Press article about her that appeared March 15. “I just wanted to give it all I had. It’s my last year. With the help of my teammates, I did what I could. They’ve helped me out a lot to get to where I am.”
Unfortunately, the Buccaneers’ state title chances were dealt a crushing blow when Dykins injured her right heel in victory over Kindred at the state tournament’s opening round. It kept her out of the state semifinal matchup with Linton-HMB, which Beach lost 47-40.
Dykins, using crutches to help her walk to the sidelines during the semifinal game, mustered up everything she had to return for the third-place game and scored 11 points as the Buccaneers beat Shiloh Christian 63-58.
Though Dykins led the charge, several of Beach’s younger players exceled at their newfound major roles.
Sophomore point guard Hailee Farstveet was also an all-state second team selection, averaging 13.3 points, 6.9 rebounds, 4 steals and 3.9 assists per game.
Sophomores Bailey Waldal and Cydni Stedman relished in their roles as full-time starters and 6-foot freshman center Channa Clarin became a starter her first season on varsity.
“It’s a wonderful experience,” Waldal said after the third-place game on March 17. “It’s a great motivator for our kids to keep working.”
The Buccaneers have just started the 2012-13 season, have a 1-2 record and are unranked for the first time since the 2008-09 season after opening with back-to-back road losses to No. 2-ranked Napoleon and defending state runner-up Linton-HMB.
They’re without Clarin, who is presumably out for the season with a knee injury, and play one of the most difficult schedules in Class B girls basketball.
But they’re still Waldal’s “Runnin’ Bucs” and it’ll be a shock if they’re not in the running to make it four straight trips to state by the time March rolls around.
Monke is the sports editor of The Dickinson Press. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter at monkebusiness.