BECKVILLE — Beckville’s Amber Harris and McKinna Chamness knew they would have the inside advantage against visiting Big Sandy in both teams’ District 21-2A opener.
Harris and Chamness enforced their will inside, and both came up big and Beckville came out victorious.
Harris scored a team-high 14 points, grabbed 23 rebounds and had seven steals while Chamness scored 13 with 12 rebounds as Beckville held off Big Sandy 40-36 last Friday.
“We knew we could win and pull through, we just had to work more together,” Chamness said. “We started off rebounding good — we knew that was our strength and their weakness — so we just attacked it.”
In the game, Beckville out rebounded Big Sandy 49-25 including 24-7 on the offensive boards. That led to a lot of second chance points.
Chamness (9) and Harris (8) combined for 17 of Beckville’s offensive rebounds and down low are two of Beckville’s best finishers at the basket.
“You just have to find someone, box out and hopefully the ball comes to you,” Harris said. “You just have to grab it.”
Beckville started the game on a 7-0 run, and it wasn’t until the 1:49 mark of the opening period when Big Sandy would get on the scoreboard thanks to two Alaysia Estes free throws.
Once Big Sandy finally got on the board, they took over the momentum, scoring the next eight points and taking their first lead of the game 10-8 early in the second off a Maryiah Francis’ jumper.
Mikyla Bachert paced Big Sandy with a team-high 14 points and three assists, and at times, gave Beckville fits on the defensive end.
“Big Sandy is different team than they’ve been the last couple of years,” Beckville Coach Amy English said. “(Bachert) is a great ball player and a lefty. The past few weeks we talked about needing to rebound better and we worked a lot on that. This is our strength against this team, inside play and rebounding. Amber and McKinna did a great job of doing that.”
Beckville took a 19-15 lead going into halftime.
Harris, who after a relatively quite first half, took over in the second half, with a bevy of drives and put backs.
The junior would get the rebound or record a steal and race down the other end for a score.
“She’s athletic and sees the ball well off the rim,” English said of Harris. “She is aggressive towards it and tonight was in some great position to snag some rebounds and get some put backs.”
Big Sandy wouldn’t go away as they never allowed Beckville to increase their lead by more than five the entire second half.
Beckville led 27-26 after three quarters of play but never relinquished their lead in the fourth.
It wasn’t the prettiest of games, and English said so.
“Finishing at times was a struggle and our free throw percentage has been great lately, but tonight it was off,” English said of the team shooting a combined 7-of-19 from the free throw line. “I’m thankful to get the win against a good Big Sandy team. We improved on somethings we’ve been working on; we just need to piece it together.”
Francis scored seven points and had three steals, and Estes scored six with six boards and had a game-high four assists.
Beckville is looking to improve off of last year’s third place finish in district, and winning their home-opener is big step in the right direction.
“We said we were going to go 1-0 in district and it just feels great to get that first win,” Harris said. “We needed to calm down, we were a little spastic and when the score was close is when we got nervous. We just played our game at the end.”
Beckville will visit Carlisle on Friday at 6:15 p.m.