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No. 1 Chargers clip Hanson to stay perfect

Hanson's Heather Kayser shoots a jump shot in the lane as Sully Buttes' Angela Guthmiller (obscured) defends during Saturday's Hanson Classic at the Corn Palace. (Marcus Traxler / Republic)

In another Hanson Classic game that went to the wire between the two programs, Sully Buttes had just a bit more.

The No. 1-ranked and defending state champion Chargers took a late lead and held off a tying attempt from the host Beavers, pulling out a two-point win over Hanson 42-40 for the second straight year in the Hanson Classic at the Corn Palace Saturday.

The Beavers (7-3) had a last-second chance at the basket, as Brooke Slaba's short baseline jumper rimmed out prior to the final buzzer. Hanson coach Jim Bridge said the goal was to get a 3-point look to win the game there, but Sully Buttes defended it well.

"We ran it and they did a good job defending it," he said. "I was proud of Brooke to go take the shot to tie. That play doesn't win or lose your game. We had so many chances and possessions and we just can't afford to have the type of lulls and letdowns we had."

While lower-scoring, the game was reminiscent of last year's meeting between both teams, with Sully Buttes winning 60-58. Both wins are now part of Sully Buttes' 29-game win streak, and this year's Chargers are 8-0.

It's also another close win for Sully Buttes, something the recent editions of the Chargers have mastered under coach Mark Senftner's guidance.

"I think part of it is being in those games," he said. "This isn't their first close game and at times, it was a learning experience. We graduated a lot of ball handling last year and to face the pressure Hanson put on us, it's a lot of learning for these young kids."

After a rough offensive first half—Hanson led at the intermission 19-18—Sully Buttes made the first move. The Chargers had an 11-0 run to take control 29-20 with less than 3 minutes remaining in the quarter and carried a 31-25 advantage to the fourth quarter.

After Rachel Guthmiller had a pair of free throws to bring the Chargers' lead back to eight, Hanson countered with an 8-0 run to tie the game at 33 with 5:11 left, powered by a pair of 3-pointers from Heather Kayser. The game was tied again at 40 following Jada Campbell's two-pointer with less than 2 minutes left, only to be countered by Lauren Wittler's basket with 1:19 remaining, which stood as the game-winner.

Kayser had 12 points, with Campbell scoring 11 points and grabbing nine rebounds. Hanson shot 31 percent for the game and was 6-for-12 at the free-throw line.

The Chargers made a more concerted effort to go to Wittler in the second half, which paid off. She had 16 points for the game, leading all scorers, while tallying eight rebounds and six assists. Rachel Guthmiller added 12 points and eight rebounds and Marinda Archer had eight points. Sully Buttes finished 7-for-10 on free throws and shot 67 percent in the second half from the field, finishing at 52 percent for the game.

On the Hanson side of the court, Bridge said he needed his team to believe it can play well and win games against the top of Class B. The Beavers are back at it Monday at Howard.

"This is a confidence builder for our kids, to know that we can play with that team," he said. "That's why we put ourselves in this game, so that we can get better. We can't get over the hump so much but we know we're doing the right things."

H 4 19 25 40

SB 10 18 31 42


Hanson (7-3): Brooke Slaba 5, Brooke Weber 6, Heather Kayser 12, Megan Guericke 3, Jada Campbell 11, Ellie Tuschen 3.

Sully Buttes (8-0): Rachel Guthmiller 12, Kendra Kleven 4, Lauren Wittler 16, Brooklynn Bradford 2, Marinda Archer 8.