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by Joel DeWitt
The Boyceville boys’ basketball team started its 2021-22 campaign with mixed results as they split their first two games.
The young Bulldogs, who have no seniors amongst their ranks, opened the season on November 29 with a 47-45 road win against Gilmanton. They then fell in the home opener to Augusta 51-74 on December 2 to level their record at 1-1 on the new season.
Boyceville started the conference part of their schedule on December 7 when they traveled to Mondovi. The Bulldogs will then begin a two-game homestand by hosting Durand on December 9 and Chetek-Weyerhaeuser next Tuesday, December 14.
In the first game of the year, the Bulldogs started out strong as they jumped to an 8-0 advanatage.
But, a combination of opening game jitters led to some missed shots, and timely free-throw shooting in the first half by Gilmanton contributed to an early Bulldog deficit. Gilmanton would start the first half by going seven of ten from the free-throw line and hit two three-point buckets to take a 21-17 lead at intermission.
However, Nick Olson would lead the Bulldogs on a second half surge. He would put in 13 of the Bulldogs 30 second-half points to keep them in the game. Combine Olson’s output with Gilmanton’s failures at the line, only two of six in the second half, and the result would be Boyceville’s first victory of the year 47-45.
“We really struggled shooting the ball and in the second half I thought we did a great job of using our pressure defense to create good offensive opportunities,” said head coach Colby Dotseth.
“Also, down the stretch we played great pressure man-to-man defense and as a team did a great job attacking the rim and getting to the free throw line,” he continued.
“We were fortunate Gilmanton had a look at the buzzer to win the game but it didn’t fall,” said Doseth.
Olson would tally 17 points on the evening, including 7-of-10 from the free-throw line, to lead the Bulldogs in scoring. Grant Kaiser would put in ten points to finish second on the team. However, it would be Kaiser’s work on the boards that would be the impressive feat for the evening. Boyceville’s center would bring down a game high 17 rebounds to lead his team.
As a team, Boyceville would only shoot 27 percent from the field (17-of-62 and one-of-18 behind the arc) and 57 percent from the free-throw line (12-of-21). However, that would be just enough as Gilmanton was only 32 percent from the field and 47 percent from the free throw line.
“Great way to start the season with a win when you had only won one game the entire previous season,” said Dotseth. “We know we are young and don’t have a lot of varsity experience, but we are not going to use that as an excuse and we need to work on cutting down on our turnovers as 24 is too many.”
Much like their first game of the season, the Bulldogs got off to a quick start but would suddenly find tight rims when they hosted Augusta for their second contest of the year.
However, unlike the previous game against Gilmanton when they used a 30-point second half to pull out the victory, Augusta would pour in 43 second half-points to seal the Bulldogs fate and grab a 74-51 victory.
Nick Olson would lead the charge in the first half, he paced the Bulldogs with three, three-point buckets before the half. However, the Bulldogs would only go three of ten from the free-throw line and see themselves trailing by eight points at halftime 31-23.
“We battled throughout the first half going back and forth,” said Dotseth. “What hurt was in the final minute of the first half, we turned the ball over and they made us pay with a couple of buckets and it was an 11-point swing not in our favor at halftime.”
While Olson and Jack Phillips would try to keep Boyceville in the contest by putting in ten and six points respectively in the second half, it would be the Beavers that were lighting up the scoreboard. Augusta would see three players score at least nine points in the second half, including 14-points from Drew Jacobs, to cruise to the victory.
“In the 2nd half we struggled to score and I thought our man-to-man defense was poor compared to the first game of the season,” noted Dotseth.
“We had a big stretch in the second half where we couldn’t find a bucket and they made a big run and that was the difference in the contest. Down the stretch we tried to pressure them full court which opened up a lot of easy offensive opportunities for Augusta and I will take the blame for that as that made the score look worse than the actual game was,” the coach concluded.
25 turnovers didn’t help the Bulldogs either and despite getting to the foul line 33 times they only converted 16.
Olson led all Bulldogs with 19 points, while Phillips added 11 points. For the second consecutive game Grant Kaiser pulled down double digit rebounds to lead the team with ten.