Lady Bucs win BHS Christmas Tournament
Story from Hendersonville Standard/Zach Womble
HENDERSONVILLE – The Beech Lady Bucs basketball team won their annual Holiday Classic on Friday night, defeating Ensworth 49-46 in the championship game. Offensively, Mia Dean carried the Lady Bucs with 21 points and five made 3-pointers – earning her Most Valuable Player honors.
“Ensworth is a really good basketball team and we needed this competition to see how we staked up against them,” Dean said. “We needed to see how well we could play and when the game got tough we were able to pull it out, which is a good sign for our team.”
The back–and-forth championship game consisted of four lead changes – all in the second half – and three ties with Beech claiming the biggest lead in the first half.
Beech took a 24-18 lead at the break, but coming out in the second half, Ensworth gained its first lead of the game just three minutes in, following a 10-3 run.
Beech reclaimed the lead after a Kendra Mueller three-point play, but the Lady Tigers battled back, holding 37-32 lead at the end of the third quarter.
Dean tied the contest with 5:25 remaining following a 7-2 run, knocking down one of her five 3-pointers, tying the game at 39. Teammate JC Swafford gave the Bucs a three-point lead on the following possession, swishing in a beautiful shot the top of the key, forcing a Lady Tigers timeout with just four minutes remaining in the game.
Beech never relinquished that lead thanks to Mueller’s hustle on the defensive end of the floor, as well as her work on the offensive glass.
“Coaches tell us all the time to focus on offense but for me in my heart it’s defense,” she said. “That is my game and how I play. Scoring is great and the coaches want me to score more, and I’m working my butt off to do that, but always defense for me because it’s in my heart.”
Up 48-46 with 9.5 seconds remaining, Dean went to the charity stripe to ice the game following Mueller’s fifth offensive rebound of the night. Sinking one of two, Ensworth’s last-second, half-court heave at the buzzer was no good and Beech claimed the title as holiday champions.
“I think the growth of our team tonight is what impressed me the most,” Beech head coach Kristi Utley said. “Just getting down by five and staying in it mentally because the game got physical and we had to battle back and that was good for us.”