Just minutes after the final buzzer, Rachel Paraupsky and Coach Herbrechtsmeyer embrace after an 80-60 victory over St. Thomas on Saturday. Their faces of relief and delight echoed throughout the whole team, all knowing what an important game this was. Coming into the game, St.Thomas placed second in the MIAC behind St. Mary’s, while Bethel sat in a five-way tie for third.
“It felt tremendous. I was almost speechless,” Herbrechtsmeyer said.
In yesterday’s practice, Herbrechtsmeyer had a lot more to say, frustrated over help-defense drills in preparation for today’s game. But on Saturday, Bethel’s defensive performance left him with different outlook.
“For three quarters we executed our defense nearly perfect. It’s hard with a 20-point lead to sustain energy,” Herbrechtsmeyer said.
Paraupsky knew it would be a tough match-up.
“The whole game I felt shaky with excitement and adrenaline and I’m still bouncing,” Paraupsky said.
St. Thomas head Coach Ruth Sinn also knew it would be a tough game.
“Bethel’s got a great team so we wanted to limit their opportunity to score. Obviously we didn’t do a great job of that,” Sinn said.
With 1:53 minutes left on the clock, Paraupsky was pulled out of the game for the final time. Her knowing smile beamed and her body hopped. After she jogged down the bench and received happy high-fives, she gave a final five and spanked teammate Hannah Neiwald, 5.
“I’m very happy. We always knew we could play like that, but we hadn’t strung it all together yet,” Paraupsky said.
The Royals and Tommies will face each other again. This time at home on February 13th. Bethel plans to continue to carry their confidence and energy from big wins like today’s.
“As long as we bring this same passion, we will be fine,” Herbrechtsmeyer said.
St. Thomas also has a plan, “Hopefully not give up 80 points,” Sinn said.