The Beech Lady Bucs used a trapping press to turn a halftime deficit into a 69-58 win on the road over the Station Camp Lady Bison on Tuesday in the first District 10-AAAA game of the season for both teams.
“That turned the game around,” said Beech coach Chantz Elkins.
His team doesn’t have the depth to press regularly, as Beech teams have done in the past, Elkins said. “We use it in spurts,” he said. “It was a game changer for us today.”
“We fell apart” in the second half, Station Camp coach Kendra Jackson said. “They’re pressure bothered us.”
Beech took an 18-11 lead after the first quarter, thanks in large part to a 9-0 run.
But Station Camp roared back in the second quarter. After Beech pushed the lead to 23-13 on a 3-pointer by Loryn Oneal, Station Camp outscored the Lady Bucs 21-6 for the rest of the quarter to take a 34-29 lead at the half.
The Lady Bison were led by senior guard Marisa Wirtz, who had 14 points in the second quarter and 19 in the first half.
“You know she’s going to score,” Elkins said of the Station Camp star. “She’s one of the better players in the state.”
But Beech’s senior leader Bri Ellis gave her teammates a pep talk at the half that helped turn things around. “I told them ‘You better step it up. We’re getting beat by one player. We need to block out and rebound.’”
Beech’s press forced numerous turnovers by Station Camp and helped the Lady Bucs open the third quarter with a 13-1 run to retake the lead 42-35. For the quarter Beech outscored Station Camp 22-7 to lead 51-41 after three.
In the fourth quarter, Beech pushed its lead to as much as 14 points as they held off Station Camp’s attempt at a rally.
Wirtz led all scorers with 25 points. Anu Richards chipped in 13 for Station Camp and Noelle King 11.
Ellis led Beech with 18 points. “Bri’s big for us as a scorer. Everybody knows it,” said Elkins. But his star still produces even though their opponents focus on stopping her.
For the game, Ellis was 7-for-7 from the free throw line, while Beech was 24-for-26. Station Camp converted only 9-of-18 free throw attempts.
Beech also got 16 points from Riley Long and 12 off the bench from sophomore Bailey Ford.
With the win, Beech improved its record to 9-10 and 1-0 in the district. On Friday, they host Hendersonville in another district matchup.
Station Camp’s record falls to 9-6 and 0-1 in the district. The Lady Bison will travel to Gallatin on Friday for their second district game.
At halftime of the boy’s game, Wirtz was honored for reaching the 1,000 point mark for her career at Station Camp. She hit the benchmark during a Dec. 10 game against Green Hill. After the Beech game, Wirtz, who has committed to play collegiately at Kentucky Wesleyan College in Owensboro, Kentucky, now has 1,171 points for her career.
Beech (69) Bri Ellis, 18, Riley Long 16, Bailey Ford 12, Christa Dean 9, Carson Sisk 6, Loryn Oneal 3, Riley Messer 3, Savanah Walmer 2.
Station Camp (58) Marisa Wirtz 25, Anu Richards 13, Noelle King 11, Taniya Petway 8, Kennedy Dean 1.