Bulldog boys end season one game shy of Sectionals

By Kelsie Hoitomt

BOYCEVILLE — The Boyceville boys’ basketball team had a run at another Regional championship, but fell short of the title after losing to Unity last Saturday, February 23. They advanced to the Regional final after beating the Flambeau Falcons and Grantsburg Pirates.

Season ends in Unity

It was a tough loss for the Bulldogs after they held a slight lead throughout the majority of the game until the Eagles took over in the fourth, which pushed the game into overtime where the Bulldogs lost 28-24.

The Bulldogs had just a two point lead at the end of the first quarter with the score at 6-4 with the help of a three pointer by Jordan Kuhn late in the quarter.

Unity had several opportunities to score from under the basket, but their shots did not connect. At one point the Eagles had three put backs before the Dogs were able to put their hands on some rebounds and bring the ball back down the court. This allowed the Bulldogs to hold onto their lead with the score at 13-11 at half time.

The atmosphere of the game didn’t change in the third quarter as both teams only scored four points each throughout the entire eight minutes.

Unity was able to gain the lead in the final minutes of the fourth quarter, but Mitch Leach found an opening in Unity’s defense and drove to the bucket for two which tied the game at 22-22 with just under a minute on the clock.

With the game in overtime, the Eagles were able to score six points against the Bulldogs for the win and Regional Championship title.

Kuhn was the points leader for the Bulldogs with six from the two treys in the first quarter. Matt Leach and Michael Lagerstrom had four points, Mitch Leach and Brady Schutts each had three and Ryan Williams and Zach Klassen each had two.

Road to Regional final

The Bulldogs advanced to the second round of Regionals after a 51-33 victory over the Flambeau Falcons last Tuesday, February 19.

The Falcons, a Lakeland-East conference team, finished their regular season 7-5, but they showed to be little competition for the Bulldogs.

It was purple pride throughout the entire game as the Bulldogs finally played a solid four straight quarters of basketball as they have been struggling to do so throughout the season.

The game started off even with the teams tied up at six and then eight. In the last two minutes of the first quarter, the Bulldogs turned up the momentum and set the pace, which gave them the lead that would carry throughout the entire game.

Williams attacked the net in the first quarter and scored eight of the Bulldogs 12 points with the other two baskets coming from Lagerstrom.

Lagerstrom stayed consistent into the second quarter with three baskets and a free throw for seven of the team’s 13 points scored. In typical fashion, Kuhn drained a three to help add to the Bulldogs 25-14 lead.

The Bulldogs came out of the locker room just as strong in the second half with 13 points scored in both the third and fourth quarters.

Mitch Leach connected with his fellow teammates on offense in the fourth quarter and posted four baskets from under the net for eight of the 13 points.

“I thought we attacked the basket well when we had opportunities and we showed patience against their zone defense. We took care of the ball without many turnovers and our pressure on them caused several turnovers,” explained coach Jay Lagerstrom about the team’s win.

Lagerstrom was the points leader of the game with 17 from eight deuces and he was one for one at the foul line. Williams scored 11 points, Mitch Leach had ten, Kuhn had six, Schutts had four, Matt Leach had two and Tyler Draeger had a free throw.

Knocking off Pirates 

After beating the Falcons, the Bulldogs hit the road Friday, February 22 to face off against the Grantsburg Pirates, the number one seeded team in the Division 4 Sectional 1.

The Bulldogs trailed slightly in the first quarter with the score at 14-12 from two treys by Kuhn and baskets by Lagerstrom, Schutts and Klassen.

The Bulldogs took their first lead in the second quarter after Kuhn and Lagerstrom each drained three pointers. They held the Pirates to just two baskets for a 22-18 score at half time.

The Pirates dominated the court in the third quarter as turnovers plagued the Bulldogs, which resulted in only three baskets being scored for Boyceville. The Pirates took the lead with the score at 35-28 going into the final quarter.

The Bulldogs trailed by up to nine points at one point, but they closed in on the Pirates in the final minutes of the fourth quarter as Kuhn hit another three pointer, which moved the Dogs into the lead at 45-44.

After posting 21 points in the fourth quarter alone and allowing the Pirates nine, the Bulldogs were able to hold onto the lead in the final minutes for the 49-46 victory.

Kuhn had another strong game from outside the arc with 14 points scored on four triples and one deuce. Lagerstrom had a strong performance from under the net with 13 points scored from five deuces and one triple.

Scoring the rest of the teams’ points were Williams with eight, Schutts and Klassen each had five and Mitch Leach had four.

“I am very proud of the team. They worked hard to put themselves into position to play in a very exciting atmosphere again. The seniors should have some awesome memories over the last couple years and our underclassmen should be excited for what the future looks like it could be for them,” expressed coach Jay Lagerstrom.