The Bucklin Red Aces outscored the South Gray Rebels 24-12 in the second quarter Friday night to take control of the teams’ season-opening game, eventually winning by a score of 55-41.
The second-quarter performance was capped by a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by sophomore Catherine Bowman.
With 1.1 seconds left in the half, and up seven points, Bowman cut across the court, took the inbound pass and hit the shot over an outstretched arm belonging to a South Gray defender.
Bowman is a daughter of Bucklin head coach Craig Bowman.
“My first reaction was (as) a dad, and obviously a pump of the fist and then I’m celebrating as the team because it obviously gives us a lot of momentum,” Craig Bowman said.
South Gray junior Christy Wiebe and senior Hannah Askew each had 14 for the Rebels, leading the team.
South Gray shot just 20 percent (1 of 5) from the free-throw line. The Red Aces, meanwhile, shot about 73 percent (going 16 of 22) from the same.
Four of those Bucklin free throws came off the hands of sophomore Janelle Tran-Chau, whose four points helped keep Bucklin alive in a first quarter in which South Gray outscored the Aces 8-6 and never trailed.
Tran-Chau finished with seven total points.
Rebounding was huge for the Red Aces, who used it to stick around through a tough first quarter and to start taking over the game in the second.
“Rebounding was a part of that defense that we played,” Craig Bowman said. “Really we looked terrible the first, I don’t know, 11 possessions offensively, but it was our defense that kept us (alive) in that drought and kept them down and it’s what allowed us to win the game. I feel the first 10 possessions that we were able to defend and then we were able to get the confidence, get rid of the nerves and then we really started playing there.”
Bowman said he definitely thought the team had some nerves with the way they were throwing the ball around early.
Bucklin senior Tricia Hokanson the team worked really hard on the boards, using positioning and strategy to overcome the size difference South Gray brought in.
Hokanson and sophomore Kc Wilson were the only two Red Aces on the combined varsity and junior varsity roster listed at 5’9 or taller (Wilson was listed at 5’10). South Gray’s combined roster included two players listed at 5’10, one listed at 6’0 and one listed at 6’1.
“Boxing out is a really key thing, especially when you have taller people on other teams,” Hokanson said.
Hokanson said she thought the second quarter was big for the Aces.
“I think we were just trying to get our jitters out and then calm down,” Hokanson said.
The team finally got through it and started to play better in the second quarter she said.
Overall, Hokanson said the thought the team did well.
“We worked really well together as a team, and I’m liking what I’m seeing,” Hokanson said.
Catherine Bowman led all scorers with 16 points, including going 5-9 from the free-throw line. Junior Mackenzie Birney had nine points, going 4-4 from the free-throw line. Hokanson had seven points and hit 3-4 from the line. Wilson had four points. Junior Ashleigh Mazerac had six points, going 0-1 from the line. Sophomore Danae Scott had six points. Tran-Chau went 4-4 from the line.
Wiebe went 0-2 from the line. Sophomore Megan Tarn had six points. Sophomore Debbie Peters had four points and went 0-1 from the line. Junior Trudy Martens had two points. Sophomore Sierra Ingram had one point and went 1-2 from the line.
Point totals by quarter:
Bucklin: 6, 24, 12, 13
South Gray: 8, 12, 14, 7
South Gray and Bucklin both head to Cimarron for the Cimarron Invitational early this upcoming week.
South Gray plays Tuesday afternoon at 3:00 p.m. against Moscow.
Bucklin plays Monday night at 7:30 p.m. against Cimarron.