Panthers get defensive in hoops win over Bucs

FINDING AN OPENING — Blue Earth Area guard Lola Lundquist (right) finds a path to the basket by driving around New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva’s Preslie Nielsen during nonconference basketball action Thursday night in Blue Earth. (Photo courtesy of Kevin Mertens/Faribault County Register)

BLUE EARTH– The Blue Earth Area Bucs girls basketball team had their hands full Thursday night with the visiting New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva Panthers in Blue Earth.

The Panthers came out on top 60-40 in a nonconference game they seemed to control from the jump.

It was NRHEG senior Preslie Nielsen who got things going during the early stages.

Nielsen started her season scorching hot from behind the arc, shooting 3 for 6 in the first half from downtown. She finished the night with 14 points to go with five boards and a block.

Faith Nielsen didn’t have such a great start to the game, but came into her own as the minutes ticked away. Faith Nielsen finished the game with 12 points, seven rebounds and two steals for the Panthers.

When it came to doing the dirty work, the Panthers had just the girl for the job. Senior guard Hallie Schultz finished her night with 11 points and seven boards to help the Panthers control the paint.

As for the Bucs, they kept things close in the first half, going into halftime trailing by just six via a 28-22 deficit.

Led by senior guard Katherine Armon, who sparked the Bucs’ offense with 10 first-half points on efficient shooting splits, the Bucs looked to keep it competitive.

Armon would finish Blue Earth Area’s home opener with 19 points on a 7-for-16 shooting performance from the field and a 2-for-4 shooting effort from deep, to go with pulling down seven rebounds, dishing out four assists and pocketing four steals.

The Bucs will look to lean on her this season to carry a large portion of the offensive burden.

“She (Armon) plays that way almost every night, some nights she scores a little more, some nights a little less, but she plays that same intensity of basketball every single time,” Blue Earth Area head coach Chris Voss said. “She’s a great senior leader — that’s what she brings to us every night.”

Armon’s partner in the backcourt is sophomore guard Lola Lundquist. Lunquist helped in the scoring department for the Bucs by finishing the game with 12 points, four rebounds and four assists.

One big issue the Bucs will look to address in the coming weeks is ball security as they ended the night with 10 turnovers and it cost them.

“We’re just going to have to get stronger with the ball and not put it on our hip. We’re too weak with the basketball, so we are going to work hard on that,” Voss said.

With the loss, the Blue Earth Area Bucs fall to 0-2 overall and aim at getting their first win of the season Tuesday evening when they take on the Granada-Huntley-East Chain/Truman/Martin Luther Jaguards at 7:15 p.m. in Truman.

NRHEG      28 32– 60

BEA             22 18 — 40



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