State Opener: Bombers bolt past BOLD

Becca Dahlman drove hard for 40 points against BOLD in the March 13 quarterfinals at the Target Center.  Photos by Greg Hunt

Becca Dahlman drove hard for 40 points against BOLD in the March 13 quarterfinals at the Target Center. Photos by Greg Hunt

Dahlman eclipses 5,000 points in quarterfinal win

Chapter I of the Braham girls 2013 State odyssey began against an unknown– a BOLD team making its first State appearance. While scouting their section championship game, Braham Coach Tim Malone witnessed the Warriors survive by employing a quick-striking 1-2-1-1 press.

BOLD played that zone press trump card out of the gate, but the Bombers calmly worked against it to jump out to a 17-6 lead midway through the first half. Dani Braund’s work on the offensive glass was a key tool to overcoming the Warriors’ defense.

“We knew that press was coming. Not that we handled it perfectly all the time, but the biggest key was we were able to keep our emotions under control,” said Coach Malone. “The one thing that I wasn’t ready for was a lot of double-teaming on Becca in the full court. That made her really work out there tonight.”

Also key in the first half was the defensive board work Jenna Winter and Jaclyn Hollenkamp did to limit the Warriors’ to one-shot trips down the floor.

Jenna Winter scored Braham’s first points at State with a three-pointer and finished with 8 points against BOLD.

Jenna Winter scored Braham’s first points at State with a three-pointer and finished with 8 points against BOLD.

“I was supposed to jam up the lane, and stop the girls from driving in,” said Winter who sort of floated defensive coverage against BOLD. “Getting that many defensive rebounds– that was different for me!” added the shorter guard with a laugh.

Eventually, BOLD got their first-State game jitters under control, and guard Carly Sigurdson found her range as the Warriors worked back to get within 27-21 with under a minute to play in the half. But the Bombers’ made it 29-21 at the break when Dahlman penetrated and dished to Braund on a slick scoring play at the buzzer.

The Bombers’ intensity heightened coming back to the floor for the second half. Dahlman went on a six-point burst to make it 37-28, Kayla Nickles scored on a tough play inside, then a seven-point Dahlman run punctuated by a sweet spinning reverse had Braham ahead 50-32, forcing a BOLD time-out. The Bombers’ team defense was also on high gear over that stretch.

“We always say the game starts with defense, and offense is played off the defense.  We always try to stop the ball– doing anything to get a stop,” said Braund.

Angie Bendickson, Nickles and Winter followed with buckets as the lead quickly grew to 64-38. Dahlman continued to attack, and soon the media focus loaded on the endline was on her reaching the 5,000-point mark. After four straight free throws, the celebratory occasion arrived with 5:10 showing on the Target Center clock when the Bomber star flew out ahead of the pack to score on a breakaway which put her team ahead 73-38.

“My team stepped up tonight. It was fun tonight. We were fired up for each other, and that’s how Braham basketball should be played every game,” described Dahlman after joining the Braham fans in the lobby. “The 5,000-point recognition was fine and all, but just to get that ‘W’ was all that mattered to me.”

Braham 79, BOLD 42

Bomber stats (pts/reb/asst): Dahlman 40, 6, 7; Braund 6, 7, 1; Nickles 11, 6, 2; Winter 8, 6, 1; Hollenkamp 6, 13, 3; Bendickson 2, 0, 0; Bacon 6, 4, 0.

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