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Beach runs away in 2nd half against Miners

Press Photo by Royal McGregor Beach senior guard Bailey Waldal shoots a jump shot against Beulah during a semifinal game of the Region 7 Tournament on Tuesday at DHS gymnasium. Waldal finished with a game-high 22 points.

The semifinal game between the Beach and Beulah girls basketball teams turned into a 3-point contest.

At least for the first 16 minutes.

The top seed and No. 7-ranked Buccaneers expanded a six-point halftime lead en route to a 73-50 win over the No. 5 seed Miners during the Region 7 Tournament on Tuesday at DHS gymnasium.

“We probably shot too many,” Beach head coach Bob Waldal said about shooting 19 3-pointers in the first half. “I was glad they were shooting them, because they are getting used to the gym and everything like that.

“I give Beulah a lot of credit. They hung around and hung around. That’s how they beat New England (on Monday). We’d get a good lead and all of a sudden it would shrink back up.”

In the first half, Beach and Beulah (13-11) combined for 27 3-point attempts. The Buccaneers finished 5 of 19 (26 percent), while the Miners were 4 of 8.

Beach (21-2) received a quick spark from Taylor Abrahamson. The junior guard posted all 13 of her points in the first half.

“I just took wide-open shots,” said Abrahamson, who posted a pair of 3-pointers in the first half. “I wasn’t going to push anything I didn’t have to. If I was open, I was going to take it.”

The Buccaneers’ best lead in the first half was 15 points, 32-17, when Abrahamson supplied at layup with 1:59 remaining in the first half.

Beulah responded with a 10-2 run in the final 2 minutes. Beach held a slim 34-27 lead at halftime.

Courtney Mitchell, a 5-foot-9 senior forward from Beulah, supplied a team-high 19 points. She said the team was right where it wanted to be — within striking distance.

“We maybe came out a little slow and nervous, but got out of that real quick,” she said.

The Miners continued to fight back in the second half, but eventually the team ran out of gas. Beulah head coach Mary Hoherz couldn’t be happier with her team’s performance.

“I was so proud of the girls, because we went in with a game plan,” she said. “Beach has so many weapons and I told them, ‘We have to give up something to get something.’ It worked for a while. It really did. Our girls walked with no fear. Good teams like Beach capitalize on mental errors. That’s what good teams do.”

Beach senior guard Bailey Waldal was quieted in the first half with five points. She responded with 17 second-half points. Her 3-pointer at the 3:42 mark of the third quarter put the team up 47-35 and from there it never gave up the double-digit advantage.

The Buccaneers received contributions from Hailee Farstveet and Brooklyn Zachmann, who each had nine points. Baili Nielson and Chantel Fulton both supplied six.

Nicole Schramm posted 13 points for the Miners. Delaney Johansen added eight, while Lakin Kessler and Jaime Murschel each had five.

Beach plays No. 2 seed Dickinson Trinity in the Region 7 championship game at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in DHS gymnasium.

“I give our kids a lot of credit, because they had to work for it and that’s the way it supposed to be when you get deep into tournaments,” Bob Waldal said.

Beulah plays No. 3 seed Hazen in the Region 7 third-place game at 6 p.m. Mitchell said the team had to prove it could compete with the best of Region 7 after being picked to finish ninth in the preseason poll.

“In the preseason poll, we were picked ninth and to be playing for third and fourth is awesome,” she said.

Beulah 5 27 37 50

Beach 16 34 52 73

Beulah: Courtney Mitchell 19, Nicole Schramm 13, Delaney Johansen 8, Lakin Kessler 5, Jaime Murschel 5.

Beach: Bailey Waldal 22, Taylor Abrahamson 13, Hailee Farstveet 9, Brooklyn Zachmann 9, Chantel Fulton 6, Baili Nielsen 6, Cid Stedman 4, Megan Benes 3, Abby Wilhelmi 2, Lateasha Lechler 1.

Records: Beulah 13-11, Beach 21-2.