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By Missy Klatt
BOYCEVILLE — The Boyceville boys’ basketball team closed out the regular season at home this past week. Unfortunately, the Bulldogs came up empty handed as they suffered a trio of losses against conference’s top three squads – Elk Mound, Mondovi and Spring Valley.
The Bulldogs lost to the D-SC runner-up Mounders (14-8) on Monday, February 8th by a score of 25-80. Then on Tuesday, it was a 58-78 loss to the third-place Buffaloes (12-9) and finally, in the Thursday, February 11 finale, Boyceville fell to the champion Cardinals (15-3), 33-51. This gave the Dawgs an overall record of 1-20 and 0-13 in conference play.
Sixth-seeded Boyceville played at Webster, the third seed, on Tuesday, February 16th in the first round of the Division four WIAA tournament. The winner will take on Grantsburg in a Friday, February 19 regional semifinal game.
According to head coach Colby Dotseth, the Bulldogs once again struggled with turnovers against Elk Mound as they have all season. They also struggled to defend in their half-court defense as a group.
“Throughout the first half though we would show glimpses of good things as we were able to break down there 1-3-1 defense at times. But then other times looked lost offensively and would make mental mistakes with lazy passes. Sometimes you just have to tip your hat to an opposing team as they shot the lights out of the gym and made 13 three pointers on the night,” said Dotseth.
The first half had the Mounders outscoring the Bulldogs by 20 points at 38-18. The second half was devastating for the Bulldogs’ offense as they only managed to score seven points.
Even though the Mounders more than tripled the Bulldog’s score, Dotseth was happy with some of the things his team did on defense.
“I challenged Connor Sempf to shut down the freshman Russo as he has been playing well lately for Elk Mound and Connor really did a great job defending him as he only scored one field goal in the first half,” added Dotseth. “I thought Walker Retz really got after it defensively with contesting shots and rebounding. Braden Roemhild really played well on the defensive side of the ball. We showed glimpses of great communication defensively but we still aren’t making it a habit to do it every trip and that is when things are breaking down for us defensively.”
Offensively, Dotseth’s young team still has a ways to go. Something that they will need to continue to work on. Senior Connor Sempf led the Bulldogs with 15 points.
FG-FT-F-TP: Retz 2-1-2-5, Sempf 7-1-1-15, Phillips 0-1-1-1, Roemhild 0-0-3-0, Bowell 0-0-2-0, Kaiser 2-0-3-4, Coombs 0-0-1-0. Total 11-3-13-25.
Elk Mound (80)
FG-FT-F-TP: Bohl 5-0-0-13, Bartig 3-0-2-9, Heath 5-4-1-17, Lew 4-2-0-11, Russo 4-5-0-13, Todd 1-0-0-3, Bartholomew 1-0-2-3, Meyer 0-0-3-0, Gabert 1-1-2-3, Jenson 3-0-2-8. Total 27-12-12-80.
Boyceville…………………………18 7 – 25
Elk Mound…..……………………38 42 – 80
3-point goals: Elk Mound: Bohl 3, Bartig 3, Lew, Todd, Bartholomew, Jenson 2.
Even though Boyceville lost, 58-78 to Mondovi February 9, Coach Dotseth tried to keep things positive.
“Never like losing but I told the boys I was really pleased with their effort and willingness to not fold and quit,” said the coach.
In the first half, Dotseth stated that they played well as a group, moving the ball around and attacking the basket. In the first nine minutes of the game, Boyceville found itself down by only four points but then Connor Sempf picked up his third personal foul and needed to sit for a while. It was at this point that the Buffaloes went on an 11-point run and the whole game and the Bulldogs’ play changed.
When the first half ended the Bulldogs were down 22 points at 31-53.
In the second half Dotseth remarked, “We had numerous guys give up their bodies multiple times in the second half to take charges. For the first time this year I felt like we played as a team and embraced the team atmosphere as the bench was even getting animated when we were making runs which was great to see. Overall, I was proud of the boys’ effort and it turned into a whole different basketball game this time as we only scored seven points in the first half the first time we played Mondovi.”
The second half was much tighter with the Bulldogs scoring 27 points to the Buffaloes 25. For the night, Connor Sempf and Walker Retz led the offense with 21 and 15 points, respectively.
Besides his top scoring seniors, Dotseth praised the play of sophomores Chase Hollister and Mason Bowell saying, “I thought they stepped up big time for us and both gave great minutes and really looked as comfortable as they have all year on the floor.”
“Freshmen Braden Roemhild and Taheton Downey stepped up in each half and gave great hustle minutes,” added Dotseth. “Also, freshman Grant Kaiser has slowly increased his comfortability on the varsity floor and is getting more aggressive wanting the basketball down low and then not shying away from going at the rim with the ball.”
Dotseth is looking to the future of the program with these younger players.
FG-FT-F-TP: Retz 4-7-2-15, Wold 1-0-0-3, Evenson 0-0-0-0, Sempf 7-3-3-21, Halama 0-0-1-0, Downey 1-0-1-2, Roemhild 0-0-3-0, Larson 2-2-4-6, Bowell 2-1-3-5, Kiser 1-0-0-2, Hollister 2-0-5-4, Wheeldon 0-0-1-0. Total 20-13-19-58.
FG-FT-F-TP: Larson 0-1-1-1, Marten 3-2-1-10, J. Falkner 5-7-3-17, Rud 4-2-1-11, Gray 5-5-1-15, Everson 2-0-4-4, Parr 7-1-4-15, Brenner 0-0-2-0, Brion 1-1-1-3, Johnston 1-0-3-2. Total 28-19-18-78.
Boyceville…….…………………..31 27 – 58
Mondovi…………………………..53 25 – 78
3-point goals: Boyceville: Wold, Sempf 4. Mondovi: Marten 2, Rud.
Woes continued for the Bulldogs as they took on the top-place Cardinals from Spring Valley on Thursday. According to Dotseth, they played tough against the Cardinals in the first half until Walker Retz had to leave the game with a bloody nose which changed the momentum of the game as he was out for the rest of the half. The Cardinals scored twice as many points as the Bulldogs, 28-14, to lead at the intermission.
Dotseth lamented, “We never really were able to put together an offensive run as our offense struggled most of the night to get ball movement and cutters as Spring Valley has always played tough man to man half-court defense.”
Dotseth also admitted that their old nemesis, turnovers, made an appearance as well.
Fueled by a 14-point run to start the second half, the Cardinals quickly increased their lead. The Bulldogs are fighters, however, and they didn’t give up. By the end of the game, the Cardinals had only outscored them by four points in the half, 23-19.
Dotseth noted, “The last home game of the season is always bitter sweet especially for the three seniors we had this year in Connor Sempf, Walker Retz, and Connor Larson. These seniors played their hearts out night in and night out and really should be proud of the effort they put forth this season.”
Sempf, who was a bit off offensively, still led the Dawgs with 11 points, the only one in double digits.
“Now, all we can do is forget about the (regular) season and start fresh as playoffs are a whole new season and everyone starts 0-0 and with the right mindset we can definitely compete and win a couple of basketball games this postseason,” concluded Dotseth.
FG-FT-F-TP: Retz 2-1-1-5, Wold 0-0-1-0, Evenson 0-2-0-2, Sempf 4-2-5-11, Downey 0-0-1-0, Phillips 0-0-2-0, Roemhild 1-0-0-2, Larson 1-0-0-2, Kaiser 3-1-4-7, Hollister 2-0-3-4. Total 13-6-17-33.
Spring Valley (51)
FG-FT-F-TP: Ducklow 3-3-4-9, Bauer 3-1-0-8, Stans 5-2-2-12, Stasiek 0-0-2-0 Bowman 7-2-2-16, Maier 1-0-1-2, DuMond 0-0-1-0, Bowser 0-0-1-0, Bednarek 2-0-0-4. Total 21-8-14-51.
Boyceville………………………..14 19 – 33
Spring Valley…………………….28 23 – 51
3-point goals: Boyceville: Sempf. Spring Valley: Bauer.