By Cara L. Dempski
The Boyceville boys’ basketball team has not had an easy season thus far. Heading into last week’s hardwood action, the Bulldogs were 2-13 overall including 0-8 in the Dunn-St. Croix conference as they prepared to close out January.
As a blast of wintry weather returned outdoors, the Bulldogs were finally beginning to heat up indoors.
Boyceville welcomed Elmwood/Plum City and its first conference win of the season on January 31. The Bulldogs played their most complete contest of the year to the Wolves 59-49.
Coach Ben Luer indicated he was pleased with the improvements he has seen in the team since the beginning of the season.
The Bulldogs’ success against the Wolves appears to have opened the victory flood gates as they have followed with wins over Colfax and Prairie Farm to run their winning streak to three.
Three days after earning its first Dunn-St. Croix triumph for 2016-17, Boyceville played host to the Colfax Vikings last Friday, February 3 and seemingly could not be stopped. Despite trailing by four points at halftime, the Bulldogs pulled out a 55-50 win over the visiting team.
Then, in a non-conference home game versus Prairie Farm this past Monday (February 6), Boyceville scored its third win in a week as it tamed the Panthers 71-58.
The Bulldogs, now 2-8 in the Dunn-St. Croix and 5-13 overall, will play three of its four remaining regular season games on the road. Boyceville will be in Elk Mound this Thursday, February 9 and at Glenwood City next Tuesday, February 14.
Coach Luer called the Boyceville home win over the Wolves the team’s best overall game this season.
“We had a lot of guys contribute offensively,” he said. “Our defense has been getting better every game. We needed some guys to step up offensively, and they did.”
The Boyceville coach described the Elmwood/Plum City squad as well coached and tough-minded. He explained he knew the Wolves would come back in the second half, but the Bulldogs made their free throws down the stretch to pull out the win.
Luke Knudtson scored 19 of Boyceville’s 59 points, Bryce Boda put together 14 points, Cooper Boesl logged 12 points, Bryce Larson picked up 10, and Jayson Gonzalez recorded four.
Elmwood/Plum City’s highest-scoring player was Luke Baier with 14 points.
ELMWOOD/PLUM CITY 49, BOYCEVILLE 59
Elmwood/Plum City……………14 39 — 49
Boyceville…………………………27 32 — 59
TEAM STATISTICS (FG-FT-F-T)
Elmwood/Plum City (12-0-17-49) A. Ebensperger 1-0-1-2, S. Hoyt 0-0-3-12, B. Glaus 1-2-1-4, T. Maxwell 2-0-4-4, K. Heit 0-0-1-9, L. Baier 6-2-5-14, C. Hinrichs 2-0-2-4.
Boyceville (18-17-10-59) B. Boda 4-3-2-14, C. Boesl 4-4-2-12, J. Gonzalez 1-2-4-4, B. Larson 4-2-0-10, Lu. Knudtson 5-6-1-19.
THREE-POINTERS EPC — S. Hoyt 4, K. Heit 3; B — B. Boda 1, Lu. Knudtson 1.
The Vikings beat the Bulldogs by 29 points at their last meeting, so it is maybe safe to say the Boyceville boys may have been out for blood during their February 3 home match-up against Colfax.
Whatever the reasoning behind the big play, Boyceville pushed from a four-point deficit to a five-point win in 18 minutes to pick up their second DSC win this season and keep their team momentum rolling as they near the end of the regular season.
“For our guys to keep plugging and keep staying positive after losing five or six in a row, that’s a big positive,” Coach Luer said. “I think what we’ve done is figure out our strengths and weaknesses defensively and offensively – and coaching too.”
The Boyceville coach spoke to the team’s drastic improvement since the beginning of the season. The Bulldogs have gone from a slow, somewhat tentative team in November to a team that right now is starting to look like a legitimate contender in next year’s Dunn-St. Croix with five players set to return for their senior season.
Colfax got on the board first with a two-point shot from Ben Thompson, but Bulldog Luke Knudtson answered only seconds later with two points to even the score. Bryce Boda had back-to-back-to-back fast breaks to the Boyceville bucket to pick up six points and give the Bulldogs the lead with 8:36 to play in the opening half.
He gave Boyceville a 15-13 lead until Viking sophomore George Scharlau hit a three-point shot 20 seconds later to give the Vikes the lead back, 16-15.
Knudtson tied things up again 18-18 at the 5:16 mark, but then Colfax raced ahead, with Scharlau picking up another big three-pointer with only 27.1 seconds to the break to take a 28-24 lead for Colfax into halftime.
Boda continued to break away from the crowd to score in the second half, tacking up two points each time. The Vikings were able to maintain their lead until Knudtson tied the game again at 10:51 with a score of 38-38. From there on out, the Bulldogs pushed open the door and capitalized on Colfax’s mental mistakes to cruise to a final score of 55-50.
Knudtson racked up 24 points against the Vikings, and Boda was not far behind with 22 points. Bryce Larson picked up five points, and Cooper Boesl and Jayson Gonzalez contributed two points apiece.
Colfax’s highest-scoring player was Treyton Teige, who earned 15 points against the Bulldogs.
COLFAX 50, BOYCEVILLE 55
Colfax………………………………28 22 — 50
Boyceville…………………………24 31 — 55
TEAM STATISTICS (FG-FT-F-T)
Colfax (13-3-17-50) B. Thompson 1-0-4-11, J. Larson 3-1-4-7, T. Teige 6-0-2-15, G. Scharlau 2-0-2-10, A. Pretasky 1-0-3-5, M. Reisdorf 0-2-2-2.
Boyceville (19-8-10-55) B. Boda 8-0-4-22, C. Boesl 1-0-1-2, J. Gonzalez 0-2-1-2, B. Larson 1-0-1-5, L. Knudtson 9-6-2-24.
THREE-POINTERS C — B. Thompson 3, T. Teige 1, G. Scharlau 2, A. Pretasky 1; B — B. Boda 2, B. Larson 1.
Coach Luer called the Bulldogs’ home win against non-conference foe Prairie Farm a nice win.
“This was our parents’ night, and was nice to come out with a win,” Luer stated. “We out-rebounded Prairie Farm 42-18, but they played a tough game and stuck with us all the way.”
The win was a ray of light in what had been a dim season prior to the past few weeks. Despite the lateness in the season, it seems as though the Boyceville boys’ squad is firing on all eight cylinders. The Bulldogs led 39-25 at the half, and held steady throughout the final 18 minutes of play to cop a 71-58 win over the Panthers.
Bryce Boda topped classmate and teammate Luke Knudtson with 28 points; Knudtson picked up 24. The two Boyceville Juniors were also the top-scoring players in the game.
Bryce Larson added six points from a trio of field goals to the score, Cooper Boesl tacked on four, Logan Knudtson added three points, and Jayson Gonzalez, Hunter Spenle and Kiel Anderson all scored two points apiece.
Prairie Farm’s highest-scoring player was Jerek Nelson, who led the Panthers with 22 points.
PRAIRIE FARM 58, BOYCEVILLE 71
Prairie Farm………………………25 33 — 58
Boyceville………………………….39 32 — 71
TEAM STATISTICS (FG-FT-F-T)
Prairie Farm (22-3-7-58) M. Seeger 2-0-0-4, E. Klefstad 2-0-3-7, J. Nelson 6-1-1-22, D. Koch 1-2-3-7, J. Siebert 9-0-1-18.
Boyceville (30-2-8-71) B. Boda 11-0-1-28, C. Boesl 2-0-0-4, Lo. Knudtson 0-0-0-3, J. Gonzalez 1-0-4-2, B. Larson 3-0-0-6, H. Spenle 1-0-0-2, B. Sempf 0-0-1-0, Lu. Knudtson 11-2-0-24, K. Anderson 1-0-2-2.
THREE-POINTERS PF — E. Klefstad 1, J. Nelson 3, D. Koch 1; B — B. Boda 2, Lo. Knudtson 1.