The Chetek-Weyerhaeuser girls opened its 2021–22 season last week with two home games and the Bulldogs were able to split those contests and come away with a 1-1 record after week one.
C-W opened the season on Tuesday Nov. 16, as the Chieftains of Lake Holcombe came to visit the Dawg Pound. Although the Bulldogs made a valiant effort to get a season-opening win, they ultimately succumbed in a 44-59 loss.
The Bulldogs were led by sophomore Hannah Solie, who buried five three-point baskets on her way to a 20-point evening. Junior, Olivia Schofield added 8 points for the ‘Dogs.
C-W jumped out to an early three-point lead on a shot from beyond the arc in the first few seconds from Solie, then the well went dry for the next seven minutes.
Defensively the Bulldogs were able to keep themselves in it until the offense started to click as C-W found themselves down 25-21 at half.
In the second half, another big run by the Chieftains allowed the visiting team to extend the lead to 15. But once again, the Bulldogs were able to claw their way back within contention several times before eventually losing by 15 points.
“Going into the season, we knew we would have nights like this where our offense would click, struggle, click, and it was good to see that our defense kept us in the game while we learn to play a new style of basketball offensively. Overall, I am extremely proud of the effort our girls put forth. We just need to know that this will be a process throughout the season, it will be tough at times, but we are looking at the incremental growth of the team and to just stay focused on that process,” stated second-year head coach Patrick Boughton.
Coach Boughton also commented; “We have a really young team. We only have two girls returning that have substantial playing time at the varsity level, and we have three girls starting that are underclassmen. I was proud how the younger girls came out and gave it their all. They made their share of mistakes, but they showed many positives as well,” Boughton continued. “Between the freshmen—Ali Jenson and Taya Whittenberger—and sophomore Hannah Solie, they shot 50% from the field, 50% from the three-point arc, had 13 rebounds, five steals, and 30 points. For an opening night, we will take that from underclassmen anytime. Add 13 points, 10 rebounds, 8 steals and 2 blocks from senior Mariah Bilodeau and Junior Olivia Schofield, who return this season, and that’s a solid foundation to build from.”
C-W made 17-49 (35%) field goals, including 5-13 (38%) from three-point range. However, the ‘Dogs made just 5-13 (38%) shots from the free-throw line.
Lake Holcombe used a balanced scoring attack with nine players scoring. Brooke Lechleitner was one of three Chieftain players to score in double figures.
Two days later, it was a battle of the Bulldogs as C-W hosted the other purple Bulldogs from the area as Boyceville arrived in town on Thursday, Nov. 18.
Both Bulldog teams struggled offensively in the first half, as Boyceville went to the locker-room with a narrow 15-13 lead.
Solie and Jenson combined for 9 points in the first half to lead the hometown ‘Dogs.
In the second half, C-W played with more energy defensively as they applied pressure to Boyceville and slowly wore them down in the second half.
Sophomore Zoe Nelson, came off the bench and spurred a huge defensive effort and junior Cierra Rihn knocked down two three-point baskets on her way to a 12-point second half surge. The underclassmen helped propel C-W to a 37-point offensive explosion in the second half to blast past Boyceville 50-36.
“I am really proud of these girls on how they were able to hold their heads up and find a way to stay together. It can be tough for young teams to struggle offensively in one half, and then to be able to shrug it off and put together a second half like they did was very impressive,” Boughton said. “We didn’t shoot as well as we did in our opening night, and as a coaching staff, we expected this with a young team; but to know that we have girls that have the ability to come off the bench and provide a spark for their team is going to be huge for this young squad. Cierra came in the second half and did a little bit of everything offensively for us. She had the hat trick of scoring as she knocked down free throws, jumpers and three-point baskets. You pair that with the defensive energy that Zoe brought to the game and it is no surprise we were able to turn things around in the second half.”
Solie and Rihn were each able to score 12 points apiece, while Schofield and Mariah each added 6. The freshmen duo of Jensen and Taya Wittenberger were able to contribute 5 points apiece, while Nelson finished with four points in one half of play.
“It was great to see Bilodeau get back to controlling the boards like the way she was when we were finishing up last season. For her to grab 11 boards is huge in helping us be successful and Jensen, as a freshman, to come in and grab 7 rebounds is a very positive way for a young player to contribute night in and night out for us.”
Although C-W shot just 18-65 (28%) from the field and made 4-14 (28%) from downtown. They made 10-25 (40%) shots from the charity stripe. Statistics from the Boyceville team were not available.
The Bulldogs open their Heart O’North Conference schedule after the Thanksgiving break in a rivalry game with Cameron. The Bulldogs and Comets will be playing for “The Ol’ Minnow Bucket” in the annual “Take The Lakes” game.
The first 100 students in grades 6–12 will get a free T-shirt to wear during the game. T-shirts will be available starting at 5:30 p.m.
“I look forward to entering conference play next week against Cameron. It will be a good test to start out conference play for us, and to be able to do it at home in front of our home fans is always an exciting thing. Hopefully, they will provide the energy we need to get the win to open up the HON schedule.” Boughton said.