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CHETEK — Free throws can be the difference between victory and defeat as the Boyceville girls’ learned much to their chagrin.
Boyceville stepped to the free throw line 24 times in its 2023-24 season-opening basketball game at Chetek-Weyerhaeuser High School last Thursday evening, November 16 but made just 13 of those attempts. Just a few more makes might have changed the outcome as Boyceville lost the “Battle of the Bulldogs” by a mere four points – 46 to 42.
Boyceville, who has now dropped three of its past four games against Chetek-Weyerhaeuser, split last year’s contests, beating C-W in the season opener but lost in the first round of WIAA regional play.
Missed opportunities at the charity stripe, however, were not Boyceville’s only short comings in the game according to head coach Jay Lagerstrom. He noted that his team missed way too many shots throughout the entirety of the game and were plagued by turnovers.
“Normal first game of the year stuff, we didn’t take care of the ball well in our half-court offense and we missed way too many easy looks,” Lagerstrom stated.
Boyceville trailed Chetek-Weyerhaeuser 23-21 at halftime. The squads put up identical scores in the second half.
Despite falling behind by seven points in the second half, Lagerstrom said his charges kept battling and cut their deficit to just a pair of points and had an opportunity to tie the contest or take the lead with just under two minute to play but were unable to finish off a couple of crucial possessions with scores in the waning seconds of the competition.
“We left too many points off the board and from the free throw line,” Lagerstrom said.
“We had a mixture of older players and younger players and just need some more time together to get a better feel for things but overall the girls worked hard and our defense was pretty solid,” he added.
Senior Hannah Dunn and sophomore Zoey Hellendrung topped the Boyceville scoring chart against C-W with 12 and 11 points, respectively. A majority of Dunn’s points came at the free throw line where she finished 7-for-12 including a 6-for-10 effort in first half. Dunn also made a two-point and a three-point basket. Hellendrung sank a triple and a free throw in the first half and added three, two-point hoops and a charity toss in the final 18 minutes of action.
Sarah Stoveren added seven points on a three and two conventional hoops and led the team with nine rebounds. Aubrey Malean added six points, Jaden Stevens netted four and Ellie Engeman went two-for-two at the free throw line to finish with two points. Although she didn’t score, Chelsi Holden pulled down eight rebounds.
Boyceville (0-1) hosted Independence/Gilmanton in its home opener Tuesday evening. The game was part of a doubleheader with the boys’ team. Boyceville will then host Chequamegon and Webster in non-conference contests slated for Monday and Thursday, November 27 and 30.