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beach edges Trinity: No. 3-ranked Buccaneers outlast Titans in Region 7 showdown

Press Photo by Royal McGregor Beach senior guard Bailey Waldal, left, goes up for a jump shot against Dickinson Trinity sophomore Brianna Soehren during a Region 7 game on Thursday at Knights of Columbus Activities Center.

When No. 3-ranked Beach stepped onto the court at Knights of Columbus Activities Center, the team knew it wasn’t going to be a walk in the park

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It wasn’t by any means.

The Buccaneers outlasted Dickinson Trinity for a 55-54 Region 7 girls basketball victory on Thursday.

“(Trinity) is a very good basketball team,” Beach head coach Bob Waldal said. “They are very athletic. I thought we played good defense. I really did. I didn’t think in the second half our shot selection was particularly good.”

Beach senior guard Bailey Waldal added: “You can’t take anything granted. We aren’t going out there assuming that we are going to win. We have to work for it and play as a team.”

In last year’s Region 7 championship game, the Titans proved they could stick around for the first 16 minutes. This time around, they stayed within reach for the entire game.

“Our girls did come out, they had a lot of confidence and they never backed down,” Trinity head coach Alysia Barman said. “We’ve really matured mentally as a group and I was proud of all of their efforts. I thought they went hard every single possession. We came up a little short, but I was proud of the effort we put forth.”

Beach’s largest lead was 10 points, 42-32, after Bailey Waldal hit a jump shot at the 6-minute, 52-second mark of the third quarter. Waldal finished with a game-high 18 points, while senior forward Cid Stedman had 17.

Trinity, however, wasn’t going away anytime soon.

The Titans (7-3, 1-1 Region 7) fought back and came within a point, 49-48, by the end of the third.

Trinity’s biggest lift in the quarter came from Rachel Jahner and Kennedy Keator, who combined to make four 3-pointers. Keator finished with a team-high 15 points and Jahner added 12.

“We just had to settle down and focus on the little things,” said Alanna Sickler, who finished with eight points off the bench. “We just had to continue to go at them.”

Beach senior guard Hailee Farstveet supplied the team’s final basket with 1:46 remaining. The putback in the paint also marked the Buccaneers’ (7-0, 2-0 Region 7) largest lead of the fourth quarter — four points — 55-51.

Beach buckled down on defense and survived the final two minutes without making a basket.

Trinity, on the other hand, got four unanswered points from Sickler. After she made a layup with 23 seconds remaining, Beach clung to a one-point, 55-54, lead. Farstveet, who had eight points, had a chance to make it a three-point game after getting fouled. But she missed her first free-throw attempt of the one-and-one bonus.

The Titans grabbed the rebound on the missed free throw and crossed over the half-court line with 4.5 seconds remaining. Barman called a timeout. Trinity tossed up one final desperation shot after not coming away with an easy look. The final shot was a short 3-pointer from Keator.

“We are right there,” Sickler said. “We just have to work on the little things like free throws and layups. If we would have finished those, we would have been there.”

After the first quarter, Trinity held a 17-16 lead, but the Buccaneers were just getting warmed up. Beach took a 19-13 advantage in the quarter and went into the break with a five-point lead, 35-30.

The Titans’ biggest downfall was free-throw shooting. They were 7 of 16.

“Shooting from the free-throw line killed us,” Barman said. “That was the game for us right there. We have to be better than we were.”

Beach also received offensive contributions from Brooklyn Zachmann with eight points. Trinity’s Brianna Soehren posted 11 points.

The Buccaneers’ season doesn’t get any easier. They host No. 6-ranked Shiloh Christian at 6:30 p.m. Monday.

“It’s early in the season and we just need games right now,” Bob Waldal said. “We play another really good opponent on Monday.”

The Titans have a week off before hosting Region 7 opponent Hettinger-Scranton at 7 p.m. Thursday.

“After the game, we talked about the things we needed to work on and in practice (today) we are going to get better,” Barman said. “It’s going to be another step forward.”

Beach 16 35 49 55

Trinity 17 30 48 54

B: Bailey Waldal 18, Cid Stedman 17, Brooklyn Zachmann 8, Hailee Farstveet 6, Lateasha Lechler 3, Chantel Fulton 3.

T: Kennedy Keator 15, Rachel Jahner 12, Brianna Soehren 11, Alanna Sickler 8, Katelyn Grinsteinner 5, Madison Jahner 2, Jillian Stockert 1.

3-pointers: B 1 (Fulton 1), T 4 (Jahner 3, Keator 1). Free throws: B 8-14, T 7-16. Total fouls: B 17, T 13. Fouled out: B, Zachmann. Technical fouls: B, Stedman. Records: B 7-0 (2-0 Region 7), T 7-3 (1-1 Region 7).