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Lady Marauders beat Maple Grove in pivotal CCAA West 1 game 82-70

Dunkirk stays atop the league

Dunkirk’s Tachiana Garcia (3) drives the lane as she is defended by Maple Grove’s Madison Price (11) during Dunkirk’s CCAA Division 1 West victory against Maple Grove, on Tuesday night, at Dunkirk High School. OBSERVER Photo by Ron Szot.

Most of the time, 70 points in a girls high school basketball is more than enough to take care of business and get a victory.

Unfortunately for the Maple Grove Lady Red Dragons, teams need more than 70 to get by a hot Dunkirk Lady Marauders team.

The Lady Marauders (12-1) took down the Lady Red Dragons (8-6) 82-70 on Tuesday night at Dunkirk High School, and essentially held a 10 point lead for a majority of the game.

Normally, Dunkirk finds themselves on a long run to pull away from teams, however Maple Grove was able to stay in the game until the very end, cutting it to as close as seven points in the third quarter. Facing a tough school, Maple Grove coach Bill Price was proud of his girl’s effort.

“They’re a tough team, Ken (Ricker) has done a great job with the girls,” Price said. “You try to take one thing away and they just have so many weapons. Defensively we just had some mental lapses in the second half and they hit the offensive rebounds hard. We have to clean things up defensively and rebound.”

Dunkirk’s Jessica Beehler looks to make a pass while avoiding pressure from multiple Maple Grove defenders. OBSERVER Photo by Ron Szot.

Meanwhile, Dunkirk coach Ken Ricker wasn’t ever at ease with how the Lady Red Dragons were able to stay in it.

“We got off to a great start, and we thought things were going so well, but they just wouldn’t stop,” Ricker said. “We got to half time we were up 48, but we were only up eight, and you feel like it should be more than that when you score 48 in a half in a girls basketball game, but they’re a great team and so well coached. Every time we tried to take something away, they found something else.”

Maple Grove and Dunkirk traded buckets for a majority of the first quarter, with Maple Grove leading 15-13 near the end of the opening frame, until an unlikely Lady Marauder provided a bit of a spark. Freshman Tachiana Garcia buried a three pointer that would give her team a 16-15 lead. The three ended up being the game winner as Dunkirk never trailed again. Garcia would go on to score five more points, giving her eight on the game, all in the first half — a half which Dunkirk led by eight, 48-40. Coach Ricker was proud of his whole team, Garcia in particular.

“Our seniors really stepped up big time and Tachiana Garcia came in and played well,” Ricker said. “The way we run, you have to have some subs. We’ve been trying to get her to understand and be confident, sometimes she thinks since she’s younger, she has to pass off to the others, but that’s not how we play.”

Garcia’s eight points made a significant difference, as there was only that eight point lead at half time. Ricker was surprised walking to half time to score 48 points, but lead by so slim of a margin.

Dunkirk’s Kymi Nance powers past a Maple Grove defender. OBSERVER Photo by Ron Szot.

“We got off to a great start, and we thought things were going so well, but they just wouldn’t stop,” Ricker said. “We got to half time we were up 48, but we were only up eight, and you feel like it should be more than that when you score 48 in a half in a girls basketball game, but they’re a great team and so well coached.”

Though the Lady Marauders never really pulled away, what little cushion they did manage to muster was produced in the third quarter. The Lady Marauders scored the first six points of the third, en route to extending their lead to 12, leading 69-57 at the end of the third, though Maple Grove had the score cut to 63-56 before Dunkirk went on a 7-1 run to close the frame. However, once Dunkirk got up to the 70s on the scoreboard, Coach Price knew his team was up against it.

“Going into the game, we said we had to keep it in the 60s for us to have a chance, once it gets in the upper 70s, it’s their type of game and they’re better at that than we are,” Price said.

The big piece for Maple Grove was senior Bre Hill, who scored 27 points for the Lady Red Dragons, and serving as the Dunkirk rally killer. Everytime it appeared that the Lady Marauders would fly away, Hill was the one who brought them right back down before they drifted too far. Price knows he needs more from Hill going for her.

“Bre Hill stepped up big, I’m happy for her. We’re going to need her to come alive going forward,” Price said.

Meanwhile, the Lady Marauders, as they have all season had quite the team performance. Nadara Odell had a game high 34 points, while Kymi Nance added 17, and Jess Beehler scored 10, while dishing several precision passes and hauling in more than her share of rebounds.

“All our girls play their roles. Jess (Beehler) was really good, but Kymi (Nance) was really good, and Nadara (Odell) was really good, and Amari (Carter) dominated the glass with 17 rebounds,” Ricker said.

Both teams go on to play Southwestern as their next game, with Maple Grove traveling to the Lady Trojans on Thursday, Jan. 31 at 7:30 p.m, while Dunkirk makes that same trip on Tuesday, Feb. 4 for another 7:30 p.m. start. With his team coming off a ten day break, Price knows his team has had the toughest competition to shake the rust off.

“It’s a track meet here in Dunkirk, it’s fast. It’s fun to watch, it’s fun to coach, and it’s fun to play I think,” Price said. “We play Southwestern next, so it’s bang bang, two of the best teams in the league back to back, so we have to come out ready.”

Meanwhile, the last time the Lady Marauders played the Lady Trojans, it took a Kymi Nance buzzer beating three pointer for Dunkirk to get a win. Ricker knows his team will have a tough test as well.

“They’re another team that’s right up there, we had that crazy game against them here and now we go to them in what will be another game for first place,” Ricker said.

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