Hanson girls claim region title and state tourney berth in win over South CentralWith only one senior last year the Hanson girls’ basketball team went to the Class B state tournament and finished sixth.
By: Aaron Saunders, The Daily Republic
With only one senior last year, the Hanson girls’ basketball team went to the Class B state tournament and finished sixth.
After defeating South Central 54-37 in the Region 6B girls’ basketball championship Saturday at the Corn Palace in Mitchell, the Beavers are going back with their sights set on a state title.
This time, Hanson has five seniors and a ton of experience.
“We have been working all year for this,” Hanson coach Jim Bridge said. “From the day we drove home on the bus from last year’s tournament, the girls all said we want to come back, but it was easier said than done. I am real proud of our kids.”
Bridge added that this was the third group of Hanson girls he has coached that has qualified for the state tournament in back-to-back seasons.
The Beavers won Saturday with a diverse attack. Seven Hanson girls scored buckets, led by Kynedi and Kendra Cheeseman, who had 15 and 14 points, respectively.
Cassidy Graham and Leah Marsh each chipped in with seven points.
“We started out a little slow like always, but as soon as we get going, we start moving the ball quicker and playing better defense,” said Kendra Cheeseman, who is one of Hanson’s five seniors. “Our team is big on momentum because we sub so much that when we have those five girls in, we have to get going right away, because we know we are going to be taken out.”
Cheeseman added that the Hanson JV team prepared the varsity squad for districts and regionals by pushing it hard in practice.
Despite committing 33 turnovers South Central would not fall quietly.
The Cougars were down 25-19 at the half and endured an 8-1 Hanson run to begin the third quarter, but South Central stayed within striking distance for most of the night.
Every time the Cougars started to mount a comeback or gain momentum, a turnover kick-started another Hanson run.
The Beavers’ final spurt sealed South Central’s fate. With five minutes to go in the game, Hanson went on a 12-2 run triggered by Graham, who forced two steals and scored four points during that span.
The Cougars had success going inside to forward Micaela Frank and forward/center Ashley Green.
Frank scored 10 points, eight of which came in the first half, while Green finished with team-highs of 13 points and eight rebounds.
“We just turned the ball over too many times,” South Central coach Ron Determen said. “You can’t turn the ball over against a good team like that and expect to win. We aren’t a great scoring team, so when you give up turnovers where they can score easy baskets, it makes us really tough for us.”
South Central finishes its season 13-10. Hanson (21-2) marches on to play in the Class B state tournament, which begins Thursday in Huron.
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