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Beecher uses big second quarter to get past Ithaca, heads back to semifinals

Basketball   | Jeff Dullack

Beecher uses big second quarter to get past Ithaca, heads back to semifinals

Troy – While Flint Beecher may not have gotten out to the start it wanted to early on in its Class C quarterfinal against Ithaca, just about everything else went as planned for the Buccaneers on Tuesday night.

A slow start offensively in the first quarter had Beecher trailing 6-5 just over six minutes into the game, but the Buccaneers took over from there, outscoring Ithaca 30-9 in the final nine minutes of the first half as the defending Class C state champions cruised to a 72-45 win.

Beecher coach Mike Williams said that he wanted his team to be patient in the first quarter and added that his team’s defense throughout the second quarter allowed the Buccaneers get out in transition offensively.

“A lot of our offense is predicated on our defense,” he said. “When we play good defense and we’re able to get out in transition, we can get easy baskets. Offensively, their game plan was to slow us down, pack it in the paint and keep us from getting to the basket, so I wanted our kids to be patient. Especially in tournament games, the first quarter is, a lot of times, a feeling out process and sometimes you can lose the game in the first quarter or sometimes you can win the game in the first quarter, or you can just feel each other out.”

In a span of just 90 seconds, Beecher turned a 6-5 deficit into a 15-6 lead at the end of the first quarter after a 3-point play from Jamari Thomas-Newell and a triple from Aquavius Burks.

Beecher (23-2) kept the pressure on to start the second quarter, scoring 13 of the first 16 points of the frame, behind five points from junior Malik Ellison and four points from Levane Blake.

Blake said that they key to his team’s first half success was its defense.

“Our coach was telling us that they (Ithaca) had a big kid, who’s a football player and if he gets the ball inside, we’re in trouble,” he sa