Ingalls senior Ashlyn Cure hit a corner 3-pointer for her 1,000th point, but in the end it was a 3-pointer by Bucklin senior Tricia Hokanson that made the difference when the two’s teams played Monday night.

The Bucklin Red Aces girls basketball team beat the Ingalls Bulldogs Monday night in 2019 SPIAA League Basketball Tournament. They won by a score of 41-39.

It was a strong team effort by each side, with contributors like Ingalls sophomore Regan Ast, who had 9 points in the form of three 3-pointers throughout the night, and and Bucklin sophomore Janelle Tran-Chau, who guard Cure much of the night.

“That’s the assignment she usually gets, is (opponents) best ball handler, best player,” Bucklin head coach Craig Bowman said. “I mean I’m not saying she guarded really well, but I think she used up a lot of energy. It’s tough to be guarded like that for a lot of the game.”

The Red Aces did have to go back to a zone defense eventually because they just couldn’t guard Cure for a moment in time there, Bowman said.

“But yeah, that’s the way (Tran-Chau) plays: She tracks the ball and she goes after it,” Bowman said.

Bowman praised the Bulldogs for how prepared they were.

“We jumped on them early and then they rebounded and responded well. we were neck-in-neck there for a while, then they built a good lead,” Bowman said. “I think the big, key moment was when they jumped up 8 on us. They hit a couple 3s and hit a 2.”

That Ingalls run took up much of the third quarter. After going into halftime down 26-21, the Red Aces went on a 5-0 run before the Bulldogs took a timeout with 3:45 left in the quarter.

Coming out of it, Cure was fouled on a 3-pointer and made all three free throws, then had a 2-pointer, all of which were followed up by one of Ast’s 3’s, at which point Bowman took a timeout with 1:10 left in the third quarter and with Ingalls leading 34-26. The Red Aces scored the last 4 points following that timeout, and went into the fourth quarter down 34-30.

In the end it came down to Cure and Hokanson, two of the best athletes in the Southern Plains - Iroquois Activities Association, who came through in huge ways late for their respective teams.

The Red Aces took a timeout after a 38-37 lead with about 1:45 left in the game on a basket by sophomore KC Wilson.

Cure wasn’t done.

She gave the lead back to Ingalls, hitting 2-point shot with 1:07 left to put the Bulldogs in front 39-38.

Hokanson wasn’t done either though, and as the clock ran down under a minute, one of the best inside threats and rebounders for the Red Aces hit a shot from outside, beyond the 3-point line with about 45 seconds left to go, near the top of the key.

It gave the Red Aces the final 41-39 lead.

“Obviously that was a big shot, but I think it was her ability to get rebounds,” Bowman said. “I don’t know how many rebounds she grabbed down the stretch, but she was a lot more aggressive. In any game that’s huge when they’re missing shots and they’re only getting one chance at it. For me, that’s where she really shined.”

It wasn’t just her who shined on the boards Monday night, Bowman said.

“All the girls, for the most part, rebounded pretty well that second half,” Bowman said. “That’s what really propelled us to victory.”

Cure finished with a game-high 21, including an impressive 8 of 9 from the free-throw line. Aside from Ast’s 9 points, Ingalls junior Britlyn Beach had 7 for the Bulldogs.

Hokanson finished with 9, but the Red Aces were led scoring-wise by sophomore Catherine Bowman, who had 12. Wilson and Tran-Chau each had 5 for the Red Aces.

Next Up:

- Ingalls plays Pawnee Heights in the consolation bracket Thursday at 4:30 p.m.

- Bucklin plays South Central in the Tournament semifinal at 6 p.m.