BOYCEVILLE — If not for a great start in last Thursday’s home game, the Lady Bulldogs would certainly have found themselves in a hardwood dog fight to the finish.
But thanks to a 14-1 run to open its Dunn-St. Croix girls’ basketball game against St. Croix Central here January 3, Boyceville was able to fend off a challenge from a scrappy Panthers’ squad, 50-35, and improved its season mark to 6-3 and 4-2 in conference play.
“I thought we had a great first quarter,” said Jolene Bird, Boyceville’s head coach. “But then we allowed Central to hang around with defensive mistakes.”
The Bulldogs ended the first quarter with a comfortable if not commanding 16-3 advantage. But then the defense got a little lax and allowed the Panthers to regain its footing and confidence.
St. Croix Central cut its deficit to single digits in the closing minutes of the first half but an Abbey Bird three-pointer and a basket by Brooklynn Blaser sent the Lady Bulldogs to the locker room with a 31-17 halftime lead.
But the Panthers showed some bite to open the second half.
St. Croix Central scored the first six points of the third quarter to slice the Boyceville lead to eight at 31-23 and forced Coach Bird to call for a timeout with just a minute and six seconds gone in the second half.
The Bulldogs responded with a 10-4 run following the timeout and extended their lead back to 14 by quarter’s end. Abbey Bird had Boyceville’s only basket of the third quarter but the Bulldogs made good on eight of their ten charity tosses in the period to maintain its advantage.
Alexa Peterson and Kysa Franseen each had a pair of baskets as Boyceville nipped St. Croix Central nine points to eight in the final stanza to secure a 50-35 victory.
“We got a little complacent on offense,” stated coach Bird. “We were not cutting and moving the ball. We also missed some wide open looks that surely could have helped put the game away earlier.”
“We are still working to put together four complete quarters.”
Boyceville received scoring contributions from seven players. Abbey Bird and Kysa Franseen led the tallies with 11 points each, Michaella Kegen tossed in eight, and Alexa Peterson and April Lake finished with seven and six points respectively.
Laura DeSmith of Central was the contest’s leading point getter as she finished with 12.
Kysa Franseen also had six rebounds and four steals. Brooklynn Blaser and April Lake also finished with four steals each.
Boyceville hosted Glenwood City last night (Tues., Jan. 8) and will then begin a three-game road trip this Friday, Jan. 11 in Mondovi. The Bulldogs will then travel to Ladysmith for a non-conference tilt with the Lumberjills on Monday, Jan. 14 before finishing the journey in Elk Mound on Thursday, Jan. 17.