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REGION 7 TOURNAMENT: Buccaneers oust Hazen, will play for 4th straight title

Press Photo by Royal McGregor Beach junior Bailey Waldal, left, puts up a shot in the post against Hazen senior Rachael Hansana on Tuesday during the Region 7 girls basketball tournament semifinals at Knights of Columbus Activities Center.

The 'Running Bucs' keep on rolling.

District 13 champion Beach is in the Region 7 girls basketball tournament championship game for the fourth consecutive season after supplying its second 80-point performance in as many days.

The Buccaneers had 19 second-chance points, which turned into 48 points in the paint en route to an 86-44 win over District 14 runner-up Hazen during the Region 7 semifinals on Tuesday at Knights of Columbus Activities Center.

"We call them 'hustle points,'" Beach head coach Bob Waldal said. "We don't have that 6-footer or 6-2 girl. I think the kids have figured it out that we have to go full blast at 100 percent."

It was a rematch of last year's Region 7 championship, when Hazen nearly knocked off Beach before the

Buccaneers roared back in the fourth quarter. This time around Beach left no doubt.

"We're definitely happy with how we are moving the ball around and just playing as a team," Beach junior guard Bailey Waldal said. "There are always things we can work better at, but all-in-all we are really happy with the way we are getting after it."

The Buccaneers' offense is averaging 73.4 points in the last six games, but what's more impressive is the team is holding its opposition to 32.5 points per contest.

The last three games, a different scorer has led the Buccaneers.

This time around it was junior forward Cydni Stedman with 31 points and 10 rebounds. All 12 players on Beach's roster played at least 5 minutes and all but two scored at least two points.

"We knew that we had to play defense and everything fell together on offense," Stedman said.

It didn't take long for Beach to build up its double-digit lead that would span through the final 27 minutes of the game. Beach's largest lead of the game was 51 points, 79-28, in the fourth quarter.

At the 4:50 mark of the first quarter, Bailey Waldal's layup gave Beach a 15-2 lead. She finished with nine points and seven rebounds.

Junior guard Hailee Farstveet came close to supplying a triple-double for the second straight game with 10 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists.

"The kids know they want to get off to a good start," Bob Waldal said. "That's easier said than done. We were fortunate to hit a couple of shots right away then things kind of took off."

Beach, which has won six straight, held the advantage in nearly every statistical category. The Buccaneers lead in rebounds (49), assists (29), steals (10) and turnovers (10).

At halftime, the Buccaneers held a commanding 46-21 lead. Stedman had 18 points at the half. Beach had more offensive rebounds (12) than Hazen had total (11) in the first half.

Freshman Krista Slaubaugh led Hazen with 12 points, while sophomore Dakota Wood added 10 points and rebounds. The Bison were 17 of 49 (35 percent) from the field. On the flip side, Beach shot 37 of 73 (51 percent).

"Beach was shooting the ball really well tonight," Hazen head coach John Ward said. "They shot the ball well the other night. We just allowed them to take too many shots. When a team shoots as well as they do, you can't give them any extra shots."

Hazen plays District 13 runner-up Bowman County in the third-place game at 6 p.m. Thursday.

The Buccaneers will play District 14 champion Dickinson Trinity at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the Region 7 championship game.

Beach handed the Titans a 64-31 loss on Jan. 3 at Knights of Columbus Activities Center. Bob Waldal isn't putting too much stock into that early season win though.

"Everybody is way different from the beginning of the season," he said. "Trinity is a good team. They've been winning and have a lot of confidence."

Hazen 9 21 24 44

Beach 29 46 72 86

H: Krista Slaubaugh 12, Dakota Wood 10, Ashton Carter 6, Stephanie Ziegler 4, Rachael Hansana 4, Mariya Schneider 3, Sadie Bolton 2, Madison Leintz 2, Kendra Slaubaugh 1.

B: Cydni Stedman 31, Hailee Farstveet 10, Brooklyn Zachmann 9, Bailey Waldal 9, Kari Schmeling 8, Baili Nelson 8, Paige Rising 4, Ashlynn Dietz 3, Morgan Nunberg 2.

3-pointers: H 4 (Carter 2, Schneider 1, Kr. Slaubaugh 1), B 9 (Stedman 2, Schmeling 2, Farstveet 2, Zachmann 2, Dietz 1). Free throws: H 6-9, B 3-6. Total fouls: H 10, B 10. Rebounds: H 23 (Wood 6), B 49 (Farstveet 11). Assists: H 14 (Ziegler 3), B 29 (Farstveet 9). Steals: H 6 (Hansana 2), B 10 (Farstveet 2, Waldal 2). Blocks: H 5 (Carter 2, Kr. Slaubaugh 2), B 2 (Stedman 1, Waldal 1). Turnovers: H 17, B 10. Records: H 13-10, B 19-5.