BEATRICE — The two teams battled over three quarters, but the fourth belonged to Crete and its standout Morgan Maly, who scored 15 of her game-high 22 points in the second half Thursday to lead the Class B No. 7 Cardinals to a 48-34 victory over No. 10 Beatrice.
“I think patience was the biggest thing tonight for us; we just didn’t get out of position and I’m really pleased with how we kept our composure,” Crete coach John Larsen said. “We were finally able to get the ball to the people we wanted to in the second half and then we knocked down our free throws. I’m really proud of the maturity this team showed tonight.”
The Lady Orange kept the ball out of the Crete offense’s hands in the opening quarter and held the Cardinals to just six points in the period. It didn’t take long for the Cardinals to start finding holes in the Beatrice defense, however, and while they never looked completely comfortable in the first half, they still took a four-point lead into the break.
The four-point lead remained throughout the third quarter as Maly, who also grabbed 11 rebounds in the win, and teammate Lexi Mach combined for 10 points in the quarter. The pair added 11 more points in the fourth quarter to build a double-digit lead the Lady Orange couldn’t cut into.
“Morgan (Maly) is a great player; I coached her the last two seasons and now she’s one year older and not any easier to guard,” said Beatrice coach Jalen Weeks, who coached at Crete the past two seasons.
“We did a good job of adjusting to the type of offense they were running. We just need to make sure we don’t help up as much and allow those easy baskets.”
It was a tight game throughout most of the matchup due to the Lady Orange’s ability to hit the outside shot. Makenzie Hatcliff hit three three-pointers for Beatrice and finished tied for the team lead in points with 11. Carly Leners also recorded 11 points.
Beatrice boys 32, Crete 23
In a game where offense was hard to find, it was Beatrice that found some when it mattered most.
The Orangemen outscored Crete 13-6 over the final quarter to secure the win.