LINCOLN – Beatrice was able to avenge another loss from earlier in the season and this one gets them into the Class B State semifinals.
The eighth-seeded Lady O defeated top-seeded Sidney 52-38 Thursday night at the Bob Devaney Sports Center in Lincoln.
With the win, Beatrice moves on to play South Sioux City, which will give them another opportunity to avenge an earlier loss.
Beatrice used a stifling 2-3 zone defense throughout the game, which gave Sidney fits. The game was tied 19-19 at half time, but Beatrice outscored them 33-17 in the second half.
Beatrice Coach Dennis Coudeyras said he told the team before the game that they probably wouldn’t play much zone because of Sidney’s good shooters – but that strategy changed midway through the second quarter.
“Our girls did a fantastic job of matching up with their shooters,” Coudeyras said. “It was almost like a junk defense because our other girls tightened up and Sidney’s other players were unable to get baskets. We just didn’t want No. 0 and No. 23 to beat us because they are good players, but the 2-3 zone really stymied them.”
As she has done all year, Jones led the team in scoring with 22 point, but Addie Barnard was also able to get into double figures with 13 points.
“Addie Barnard has just been taking the ball to the hoop,” Coudeyras said. “We’ve been wanting her to do that all year and the last several games she has done that – along with Carley Leners also scoring off the dribble. That’s been a big part of our success lately.”
Leners had nine points and Haley Sexton rounded out the Beatrice scoring with seven points, which included Beatrice’s only two three pointers of the game.
Sidney opened the game with a three pointer, but Carley Leners came back with Beatrice’s first basket to make it 3-2.
The Lady Raiders extended their lead to 5-2, but Addison Barnard scored on a baseline out of bounds play to narrow the deficit back to one.
Sidney then went on a 5-0 to extend their lead to 10-4. Leners ended the run with a basket and two straight putback baskets by Michaela Jones made the score 10-9. Sidney would lead 12-9 at the end of the first quarter.
Sidney opened the second quarter on a 6-0 run to extend their lead to 18-9, but Beatrice answered with an 8-0 run. Haley Sexton sparked the run with a three pointer, which was followed by a free throw from Jones.
Barnard’s take to the basket and a jumper by Jones made it 18-17. The Raiders hit a free throw to extend the lead back to two. Jones was then fouled trying to launch a half court shot at the end of the half. She made two out of three free throws to tie the game 19-19 at half time.
Sidney scored the first basket of the third quarter, but Beatrice would go on a 9-0 run from there. Barnard started the run with a putback basket and then Leners and Jones had back to back takes to the basket. Sexton finished the run with a three pointer to make it 28-21.
After a three pointer by Sidney, Barnard answered with a three point play and the Lady O led 31-26 after three quarters.
The Fourth quarter belonged to the Lady O. The knocked down a total of 15 free throws and outscored Sidney 19-12 to get the 52-38 win.
“We have just been shooting free throws tremendously,” Coudeyras said. “All the things that help win – we’ve been doing.”
Coudeyras said he’s just amazed at how much better his team has gotten throughout the year.
“These girls just keep getting better and better,” Coudeyras said. “My injury actually helped us because my assistants have been doing a tremendous job. But these kids are just resilient and nothing bothers them and it’s been really fun to coach. It’s the only team I’ve ever coached that has gotten better in every phase of the game.”
The Beatrice student body was not only happy because the Lady O won, but happy because the win means they’ll be dismissed from school early on Friday. The game against South Sioux City will be at 3:45 p.m. on Friday at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Beatrice lost to South Sioux City on Jan. 13 68-40.
“We know we have a tough one tomorrow, but hopefully we can be the avengers again,” Coudeyras said.