GIRLS BASKETBALL: Beecher ends on 9-2 run for win over Reed-Custer
BEECHER — Any team that commits 28 turnovers in a game normally doesn’t have much of a chance at winning.
But these aren’t your normal Beecher Bobcats. They’re wired a bit different.
Despite spending much of the game playing transition defense, the Bobcats continued to chip away and sank 14-of-17 free throws, including 6-for-6 down the stretch to pull out a 44-39 victory over Reed-Custer on Wednesday.
“Two things won this game for us; mental toughness and free throws,” Beecher coach Adam Keen said. “Free throws were one of our weaknesses early in the season. Now we’re slowly getting it all together and it’s beginning to show in the games.”
Considering they trailed for much of the game, the win isn’t the biggest shock. It’s the fact that only four Bobcats scored in the entire game.
“I think that’s actually one of the great things about this team,” Keen said. “If I was scouting us, I wouldn’t know who to key on. I believe we have five girls that can score along with 3-4 who can score from anywhere, attack and shoot the three which makes us a tough out for anyone.”
Reed-Custer started out in full control with a 14-2 lead in part of seven Beecher turnovers and balanced scoring from four different Comets, led by five points from Kylie Balgemann.
But the Bobcats responded with a 9-0 run to end the quarter, five points from Kaylie Sippel and Cierra Welch to cut the deficit down to 14-11.
Beecher’s Abby Shepard scored the first four points of the quarter, including a steal and layup that gave it its first lead 15-14 just a minute into the quarter.
However, Jaden Christian returned serve with a 3-pointer to put the Comets back in the lead which remained that way for for the remainder of the frame.
Beecher committed a total of 16 first-half turnovers compared to 11 for the Comets, who led 23-18 at the break.
“We were joking after the first quarter that we needed to have more turnovers than points, which nearly happened,” Welch said with a laugh. “After that, we knew we had to turn it around. We couldn’t get beat at home, that’s embarrassing to us.”
Beecher was never out of the game, it just couldn’t get out of its own way most of the time
After Welch and Margaret Landis converted buckets to bring the game within one point, the turnover problem returned and the Comets scored the next six points and took a 30-25 lead into the fourth.
Then suddenly Beecher’s turnover problems became Reed-Custer’s problems despite leading 33-25.
Shepard drilled a corner 3-pointer later followed by two free throws from Landis to cut the lead down to three.
Although Reed-Custer pushed the lead back up to seven points, Beecher had one final push left.
Welch converted a runner across the lane before Landis connected on a massive 3-pointer for a 37-35 game with 51 seconds left.
Following a Comet turnover, Sippel ended up with the ball on the right wing and swished a 3-pointer to give Beecher back the lead 38-37.
“I missed one a couple minutes before so when I shot again and made it all I could think was ‘Yes’,” Sippel said. “Even when we’re down, we have the resiliency and determination to come back.”
Another Comet turnover forced them to foul and Welch took on that task at the charity stripe by calmly sinking four straight free throws along with two more from Landis that ultimately put the game on ice.
“There were definitely some nerves on those shots,” Welch said. “But being a senior, I knew I couldn’t let my team down and if I missed them, it was on me. Luckily I swished all four shots.”
Welch finished the night with a game high 16 points, seven rebounds and six steals. Sippel followed with 11 points and six rebounds.
Landis added nine points and four rebounds while Shepard chipped in eight points with four steals.
For Reed-Custer, Balgemann finished with 12 points, six rebounds and four steals.
Christian added nine points, six assists and five steals while Antoinette Hill had six points with six rebounds.
Both teams are back in action today. Beecher is in River Valley action at Grant Park. Reed-Custer is at home in a huge Interstate Eight showdown against undefeated Sandwich.