WEST POINT -- For as back-and-forth as Tuesday's game between preseason Class C No. 3 West Point-Beemer and No. 5 Stanton was, it was probably fitting that it came down to the final possession.
After Stanton's MacKenzie Brandl made a free throw with 4.3 seconds for a 41-39 lead, West Point-Beemer's Amanda Hansen, who scored a game-high 20 points on the night, took an inbounds pass from her own baseline. She slid past a screen, which resulted in Brandl slamming into the floor, and drove into the paint into heavy traffic, but her off-balance jumper as she tumbled from contact was off the mark as the horn sounded.
"It got rough toward the end of the game," WP-B coach Craig Theis said. "For the whole game, for that matter."
Both teams struggled at times offensively, forcing them to rely on defense.
Stanton finished 14 of 43 for 32.5 percent from the field, which was better than its recent 19 percent performances over its first two games.
Stanton did almost everything it could to bottle up Hansen, who was one of the top scorers in the state a year ago. The senior, who averaged 30 points in the Cadets' first two games, did score 20 points, but was held to 6 of 19 from the field. As a team, WP-B was limited to 13 of 47 (27.7 percent).
"They played great defense," Stanton coach Greg Wegner said. "I was so proud of them."
The inconsistency led to scoring runs and droughts throughout. That was no more evident than in the fourth quarter. WP-B scored a 7-0 run in the first 3:15 of the quarter for a 39-31 lead, but Stanton scored a 10-0 run the rest of the way.
It was possible the Cadets may not have had that final chance. After a WP-B turnover and the ball going off a Cadet on the ensuing inbounds play, Wegner called his last timeout to draw up a play to hold possession. But the horn inadvertantly went off just after the ball was inbounded, and the officials stopped play. On what was essentially a replay, Brandl was fouled and made the second free throw for what turned out to be the final 41-39 margin.