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Glenwood City girls dominate Boyceville in “Coaches vs. Cancer” game

By Laura Giammattei

BOYCEVILLE — Two major events occurred at Boyceville High School this past Friday, February 12: the final rivalry game of the season against the Glenwood City Lady Hilltoppers and, more importantly, the annual “Coaches vs. Cancer” fundraiser.

Strong attendance demonstrated the enthusiasm for these two events as hundreds of people packed into the gym and commons area to support both the Bulldogs and the Hilltoppers as well as the fight against cancer. Throughout the night, participants filled out raffle tickets for silent auctions, purchased t-shirts, food, drinks and also bean bags for a chance at winning prizes during varsity intermission. All proceeds went to the American Cancer Society. 

The Coaches vs. Cancer event provided a much larger crowd than usual for the game between the Lady Bulldogs and Lady Hilltoppers. While there was great success with the fundraiser event, the game for the Bulldogs did not go quite as well and they fell to the Toppers 43-15.

The Bulldogs entered the game with a significant disadvantage, as two of their strongest players are off the court with injuries. Senior Marki Lagerstrom recently broke her tibia during the game against St. Croix Central on Monday, February 8, putting her out for the remainder of the season. On top of that, junior Madysn Riek also suffered an injury to her ankle and it is uncertain if she will return to the court this year.

With their strongest shooter and also their dominant rebounder off the court, the Bulldogs took a cautious approach, holding long possessions in an attempt to contain the Toppers offensive production. Their strategy worked early on, as the Toppers were eager to put points on the board but rushed their shots and missed the majority of their early attempts. However, the Toppers disrupted the Bulldog offense enough to keep them off the glass and eventually regained possession.

It took over four minutes for either team to meet the net and it was Boyceville that struck first with a bucket from the arc. However, Glenwood City also hit their stride when sophomore Jenesa Klinger stole the ball and teammate Rachel Klatt finished the play off with a bucket off a rebound. From there, the Toppers never looked back and put up a series of arching rainbows which pulled them ahead 18-6 within just a few short minutes. Their offensive and defensive success continued with steals, blocks and accurate shots for the remainder of the first half, and at intermission they led the Bulldogs 24-6.

The key to the Toppers success initiated with the press, which countered the Bulldogs’ strategy of keeping extended possession and their opponent away from the net. Once the Hilltoppers got into a rhythm, the Bulldogs just could not interrupt them enough to make a significant difference to get back into the game.

The second half flowed very much the same as the first, with the lady Toppers dominating on both sides of the court. Klatt managed to block a number of Bulldog shots and had strong presence under the net while fellow senior Gabby Peterson asserted herself by racking up four steals and ended the night with a team high of 11 points. Klatt was not far behind with eight points.

Head coach for the Hilltoppers Justin Kuehndorf was pleased with the game results, “I thought we played pretty well. We just wanted to play strong basketball on both sides. Our goal every night is to play good defense, and we do strive to also have a solid offensive night, but sometimes we fall short in that aspect and we definitely rely on our defense to carry us through the rest of the game. I think we were able to do that early in this game. Boyceville had a really good strategy to slow us down and it worked for awhile. The girls were in a hurry to score, but once they relaxed and took their time, they started to shoot the ball well and kept that up the remainder of the game.”

For the Bulldogs, offensive production was sparse throughout, with senior Jenna Beyrer leading the team with just seven points. She provided three of the Bulldogs’ six points in the first half and went on to add four to the board in the second. Junior Cassie Malean contributed the other three point bucket in the first half and also sank a two point shot in the second.

Bulldog head coach Jolene Bird, also coordinator for the Coaches vs. Cancer event, reviewed the evening’s events, “Having both Marki Lagerstrom and Maddy Riek out definitely changed our game plan, as both have been playing well. Maddy is our offense leader and leads our team in rebounds, while Marki is that senior leader who had been shooting well from the arc the past few games. I thought the team did execute the game plan we had in place very well. We were just not able to score. They held Klatt and Maya Petersen in check but unfortunately we had too many turnovers and really struggled putting the ball through the hoop. Even the easy free throws for some reason were not easy, only making one of our nine shots.

Unfortunately the game did not go as planned for us but I am so very proud of our communities and their support for the 6th annual Coaches vs. Cancer event. At this time, we have raised a little over $7,500 for the American Cancer Society, and there are still some donations flowing in. Each year seems to get bigger and better. Hats off to all who donated to this very important cause.”

Boyceville vs. St. Croix Central

Prior to the Friday evening game against Glenwood City, the Lady Bulldogs first traveled to Hammond, WI on Monday, February 8 where they fell 67-42 to the St. Croix Central Panthers.

Boyceville had some good looks against St. Croix Central, especially early on in the first half. Madysn Riek came out strong and put up fourteen points in the first half, primarily near the bucket and through success at the free throw line. Unfortunately, she sustained an injury to her ankle late in the first half and was not able to get back onto the court for the second. This is also around the same time Marki Lagerstrom sustained her injury.

Defensively, the Bulldogs struggled with turnovers and could not disrupt the Panther offense enough to prevent them from scoring opportunities. Sophomore Mia Krogseng led the Panther offense with a team high of 21 points. She shot well under the net and also connected on her two shots at the free throw line. Teammate senior Emma Landry had similar success near the basket and free throw line. She ended the night with fourteen points.

Though the Bulldogs stayed within a reasonable margin in the first half, Riek and Lagerstrom’s injuries led the Panthers to pull ahead further in the second half and ended up defeating the Bulldogs by a comfortable 25 points.

The Lady Bulldogs went on to host one of their last two games on Monday, February 15 against the Chetek-Weyerhaeuser Bulldogs. Their regular season will wrap up against the Mondovi Buffaloes on Thursday, February 18, where they hope to find one more win.

Glenwood City vs. Amery

Earlier in the week, the Lady Hilltoppers took on the Amery Warriors at home on Tuesday, February 9 where they emerged victorious, 63-44.

It proved an exciting first half as both teams shot well but both sides lacked a strong defense.

For the Hilltoppers, seniors Morgan Kadinger, Klatt and Maya Petersen all performed well offensively. Kadinger and Klatt each put 15 points on the board, while Petersen added thirteen. Kadinger had great success from beyond the arc while Klatt and Petersen flourished near the net.

The Warriors also provided a strong offensive first half, but the majority of their points came from just one athlete: freshman Madelyn Grancia. She showed her skills from all angles of the court, sinking two arc buckets and four two-point field goals. She also shot perfectly from the free throw line. Fortunately for the Toppers, Grancia was their only offensive threat and Warrior production slowed significantly in the second half, which gave Glenwood the opportunity to widen their margin and take the game.

Though the Toppers allowed their opponent to score 28 points to their 33 in the first half, they did manage to contain Grancia in the second half, which resulted in just 16 points for the Warriors, while Glenwood doubled that production.

The Lady Hilltoppers have one last regular season game to play against the Colfax Vikings on Thursday, February 18 in Glenwood City. If the ladies win their final game, they will end the regular season with a 19-2 record and will strive for that same success in the playoffs.