The Beatrice girls basketball team passed a tough test in the first round of the Beatrice Holiday Tournament on Wednesday.
The Class B No. 9 ranked Lady O defeated Class A No. 10 ranked North Platte 41-28 at the Ozone in Beatrice.
North Platte came in with more size, but it didn't phase Beatrice. The Lady O defense held the Bulldogs to 14 points through three quarters.
"We knew it was going to be a battle coming in," said Beatrice Coach Jalen Weeks. "Gracie Haneborg is really solid and active defensively and can get to the rim for them, so we tailored our defense around her. But in the back of our mind, we knew they had some bigs that could give us some issues. So it was a challenge, but I'm really proud of our girls for executing our game plan and I'm really proud of our defensive effort."
The Bulldogs played a full court press defensively for most of the game against the young Lady O team. Weeks was happy with how they handled that.
"That' still going to be a learning curve with some of our younger players, but I thought for the most part, we adjusted on the fly," Weeks said. "I think we got a little out-of-sorts at times, but it was a really good learning game when it comes to that full court pressure."
Mak Hatcliff scored the first points of the game, but North Platte came back with four straight to take a 4-2 lead.
A three pointer by Mak Hatcliff followed by two straight three pointers by Morgan Mahoney gave Beatrice an 11-4 lead. North Platte scored the last two points of the first quarter to make it 11-6.
There wasn't much scoring in the second quarter. Nevaeh Martinez knocked down two free throws, but North Platte finished the quarter on a 4-0 run to make it 13-10 at the half.
Mak Hatcliff opened the third quarter with a three pointer and then answered a Bulldog basket with a fast break layup. She then made one of two free throws to extend Beatrice's lead to 19-12.
North Platte knocked down two free throws to make it 19-14, but a basket by Hailey Schaaf, a free throw by Morgan Mahoney and a basket by Mak Hatcliff extended Beatrice's lead to 24-14 after three quarters.
Beatirce opened the fourth quarter on a 6-0 run thanks to a steal and a lay up by Mak Hatcliff followed by a Basket by Martinez off an assist from Mak Hatcliff. Avery Barnard finished the run with two free throws to make it 30-14.
The rest of Beatrice's points in the fourth quarter came from the free throw line. North Platte was able to get within seven at 33-26, but the Lady O made enough free throws down the stretch to win 41-28.
Weeks said he's happy with how his team handled North Platte's size.
"I think we did a good job of staying in front of them and not bailing them out too much," Weeks said. "They got some rebounds, so we have to do a better job of checking out and getting loose balls off rebounds, but other than that, I thought we did a good job."
Mak Hatcliff once again led the way for Beatrice with 21 points.
"Mak is really fun to have on your team," Weeks said. "There are times where we can just tell Mak to go get the ball and she'll find a way to go get the ball. She did it on both sides of the floor, she's as competitor and it's going to be fun to keep coaching her."
Morgan Mahoney had seven points, Martinez and Schaaf had four each, Riley Schwisow had three and Avery Barnard had two.
Weeks said he was happy with how the entire team contributed on Wednesday.
"I thought Nevaeh Martinez did a great job against their bigger girls," Weeks said. "Hailey Schaaf and Chelsea Leners gave us some good minutes guarding their other bigs. Riley Schwisow did a good job handling the ball, Morgan Mahoney got us going early and I think everybody contributed today. Even our bench gave us a lot of energy."
Beatrice improves to 4-1 on the season and will be in action again on Thursday when they play Class B No. 10 Elkhorn at 2:30 p.m. at the Ozone. North Platte falls to 3-4 on the season and they'll play Platteview at 11 a.m. on Thursday at the Ozone.