The Beatrice girls' game against Seward was made a little more difficult Friday night when their best player went down with an injury, but the Lady O would still prevail.
Beatrice won the game 43-29, improving their record to 7-1 on the season.
Lady O leading scorer Mak Hatcliff had to be helped off the court with an apparent ankle injury late in the first quarter after hitting the ground hard on a take to the basket. She never returned to the game.
Beatrice's tough defense would be enough to manage the game without Hatcliff. They held Seward to just eight points in the first half as their offense did enough to maintain a safe lead throughout the rest of the game.
Beatrice Coach Jalen Weeks said you're never prepared to lose one of your best players, but liked how his team responded.
"I thought our girls did a good job right away moving on and focusing on what we were running," Weeks said. "We adjusted when they switched from their junk defense to their two-three zone and I'm glad we found a way to get it done."
Before her injury, Mak Hatcliff and Riley Schwisow would open the game with three pointers to give the Lady O an early 6-0 lead. Hatcliff then answered a Seward free throw with a free throw of her own to make it 9-1.
Two more free throws by Seward made it a six point game, but Nevaeh Martinez closed the first quarter with a basket off an assist from Hailey Schaaf to make it 9-3.
Beatrice would have to go the rest of the way without Mak Hatcliff, but it didn't phase the Lady O early in the second quarter. Martinez scored off an assist from Chelsea Leners and then Leners scored three straight points to make it 14-3.
Seward ended the run with a three pointer, but Riley Schwisow answered with a three pointer of her own to make it 17-6. The Lady O would lead 17-8 at half time.
Leners opened the third quarter with a three pointer before Schwisow got a lay up off of a steal to make it 22-8.
Seward cut the deficit to nine with five straight points, but two straight basket by Martinez in the post followed by another basket by Leners in the post made it 28-13 after three quarters.
Seward scored the first seven points of the fourth quarter to make it 28-20, but a basket by Schaaf followed by a jumper from Schwisow re-extended the lead to 32-20.
Seward knocked down two free throws to make it a 10 point game, but a jumper from Avery Barnard and a free throw by Leners made the score 35-22.
Beatrice would make enough free throws down the stretch to eventually win the game 43-29.
Weeks said there were times during the game when his young team got a little out-of-control without their senior leader
"There were times where we got a little sped up," Weeks said. "But once we took a deep breath and went over our game plan, we focused on what we needed to do to stop their run and quit turning the ball over. It got a little scary there for a little bit, but I'm proud of how the girls stepped up."
Defense was once again a big factor in the win for the Lady O.
"Defense is going to win you a lot of games," Weeks said. "If we can hold teams in the 30s or less than that, we are going to give ourselves a good chance to win the game."
Chelsea Leners led the way for Beatrice with 11 points while Riley Schwisow had 10, Avery Barnard and Nevaeh Martinez had eight each, Mak Hatcliff had four and Hailey Schaaf had two.
"Everybody got some minutes and everybody stepped up," Weeks said. "We shifted some girls to different spots and we were able to find a way."
The seriousness of Mak Hatcliff's injury was not immediately known after the game
The Beatrice girls also played against Omaha Mercy on Thursday. They won that game 50-22 in Omaha.
Mak Hatcliff had 26 points in the game while Nevaeh Martinez had nine, Sadie Glynn had five, Chelsea Leners and Hailey Schaaf had four each and Emma Erikson had two.
The Beatrice girls will be in action again on Tuesday when they host Waverly.
Other Sunland girls scores
STERLING 27, DORCHESTER 21
Sterling 7 4 7 9 -- 27
Dorchester 10 1 5 5 -- 21
Sterling--stats not provided.
Dorchester--Novak 7, J. Zoubek 4, Schweitzer 4, Lehr 2, A. Zoubek 2, Kotas 2.
SOUTHERN 44, FRIEND 18
Southern 9 17 13 5 -- 44
Friend 7 5 2 4 -- 18
Southern--Smith 4, Klover 2, Wegner 4, Cooper 17, Klover 17.
Friend--Lawyer 2, Brandt 4, Kraus 3, Schluter 9.
JOHNSON-BROCK 36, PAWNEE CITY 32
Pawnee City 7 1 16 8 -- 32
Johnson-Brock 11 0 11 14 -- 36
Pawnee City--Tegtmeier 6, Branek 5, Koning 2, Branch 12, Branek 7.
Johnson-Brock--Sandfort 9, Ramussen 2, Knippelmeyer 8, Buchmeier 5, Kuehler 8, Beirends 4.
WAHOO 41, NORRIS 32
Norris 5 7 10 10 -- 32
Wahoo 11 11 6 13 -- 41
Norris--Ramsey 2, Waters 13, Steik 2, Kroeker 6, White 8, Kircher 1
Wahoo--Borchers 3, Luben 15, Iverson 1, Golladay 7, Eddie 4, Sears 11