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Hanson earns Class B bid with win over Chester Area

Hanson's Kynedi Cheeseman drives to the basket past Chester Area defenders during the Region 4B girls basketball championship Thursday at the Corn Palace in Mitchell. (Aaron Saunders/Republic)2 / 2

After finishing third at the Class B girls’ basketball state tournament last year, Jim Bridge thought his Hanson squad could be better in 2013-14.

Thursday at the Corn Palace in Mitchell, the Beavers took the first step in fulfilling Bridge’s prophecy as they beat Chester Area 60-34 in the Region 4B championship to qualify for the state tournament.

“To lose all the kids that we lost from last year’s team and be back again, I can’t tell you proud I am of this team,” Bridge said. “This is a testament to our kids. They came together as a group, they worked hard and listened and they deserved this win.”

The Beavers (21-2) rode the strong play of sophomore forward Kynedi Cheeseman and junior forward Katlyn Schroeder to punch their third straight ticket to the state tournament. Cheeseman tallied 21 points and 11 rebounds for the double-double, while Schroeder scored 16 points.

Schroeder did the majority of her scoring with quick layups off passes from Leah Marsh, who finished with seven assists and Cheeseman, who had five assists.

Behind Cheeseman and Schroeder, Hanson took a 19-7 lead to start the game, during that span both Cheeseman and Schroeder had six points, while Sydney Dodd had five points.

“I am really excited to go back to the state tournament for the third time,” Schroeder said. “I couldn’t have gotten all those points without everybody on my team. It all started with them.”

The Beaver offense slowed down in the second quarter, allowing Chester Area (14-9) to cut the lead to 19-11. But Hanson responded with a 15-5 run, took a 34-16 lead into halftime and never gave up control of the game through the second half.

Hanson shot 25-of-41 from the field and 8-of-17 from the free-throw line. The Beavers also won the rebounding battle 21-17.

Chester Area basketball coach Ross Peterson said a big reason his team had trouble scoring was the Beavers’ athleticism. Hanson pestered the Chester Area guards all night with its extended man-to-man defense. The Beaver defense forced Chester Area to shoot 44 percent from the field and commit 11 turnovers. The Flyers were led by Erin Benson with 12 points.

“Hanson is pretty fast, and they are pretty quick and aggressive,” Peterson said. “I don’t know if we have faced that in the last three weeks. Hanson was getting a lot of transition buckets, they made contested shots and we didn’t so we got a little demoralized.”

Hanson enters the Class B state tournament Thursday at the Huron Arena.

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