Dogs come up short

Hungry for its first win since March 3, 2020, the Chetek-Weyerhaeuser boys’ basketball team nearly tipped off the 2021–22 season with a hard-fought win. Instead, the Augusta Beavers fended off the Bulldogs’ late comeback attempt and hung on to a 58-56 victory in Chetek on Tuesday, Nov. 23.

C-W (0-1) opened the season in the ‘Dog pound against Augusta (1-0), jumping out to a 34-25 lead in the first half. However, the visitors outscored C-W 33-22 in the second half to pull away from the Bulldogs. 

“It felt great to be back in the gym in front of our home crowd. I’m really proud of the boys’ effort. Despite being outsized, we did a good job on the boards,” explained C-W head coach Hans Olson. “Execution-wise, we just need to be crisper and more efficient on both ends of the floor. That 6-minute scoring drought to start the second half didn’t help us. Mix in our 26 turnovers and we were fortunate to still have a chance at the end.”  

The hometown Bulldogs came out firing on all cylinders, as junior Lawson Davis scored a layup for the team’s first points of the season followed by a three-pointer by senior Ashton Kummet. C-W then increased its lead to 15-5, behind two-point baskets from sophomore Brennan Lentz and Davis, while junior Benson Paulson buried back-to-back triples from the outside.

Augusta eventually settled in after some defensive and offensive adjustments. With 5:30 left in the first half, the ‘Dogs led 22-16 and C-W took a nine-point lead into halftime.

The Bulldogs hit eight first-half three-pointers, including three by Kummet, who scored nine of his team-high 19 points in the first half. Paulson also knocked down a trio of shots from beyond the arc for nine points, followed by seven points by junior Dylan Razim, four from Davis, three from senior Carter Kummet and two from Lentz.

Although C-W led by nine points, the Bulldogs’ struggled to make baskets in the first six minutes of the second half as the Beavers cut the Bulldogs’ lead to 35-32 with 13 minutes left in the game. Augusta took its first lead of the game a minute later, forcing the ‘Dogs to take a timeout as they trailed 36-35. 

The remainder of the game was a back-and-forth battle with numerous lead changes.

Trailing 57-55, C-W was forced to foul the Beavers in hopes of extending the game. The strategy worked well as Augusta missed several key free throws down the stretch. 

Unfortunately, C-W was unable to convert on the offensive end, and a potential game-winning three-point attempt from Razim fell short as the Beavers hung on for the win.

The Bulldogs’ defensive effort was nothing short of impressive at many times, forcing a staggering 17 turnovers and 19 deflections. But the ‘Dogs also committed 26 turnovers of their own which ultimately came back to haunt them.  

As a team, C-W shot well in the first half, but a poor second-half shooting display drastically changed their shooting percentages. They made 5-19 (26 percent) two-point field goals and attempted 37 shots from beyond the arc, making 12 (32 percent) three-pointers. There is room for improvement in the free-throw department as well as C-W was just 10-18 (56 percent) at the charity stripe. 

Augusta shot 48 percent on two-point field goals (14-29), but was just 6-25 (24 percent) from downtown and 12-25 (48 percent) at the free-throw line.

Ashton Kummet paced the Bulldogs led with 19 points (6-13) on three-point field goals. He also added five rebounds, three steals and a pair of assists. Razim scored 12 points and added seven rebounds, while Paulson had 10 points and three boards. Davis pulled down a team-best nine rebounds and tallied six points, three assists and two blocks. Carter Kummet had a solid statline with six points, six boards, three assists and a steal.

Augusta’s leading scorers were Tyler Brixen with 22 points and Dalton Robinson with 19 points—the duo accounted for 41 of the team’s 58 points.

“The film doesn’t lie, and we have some great clips of what we did well and plenty to grow from.  We’ve got to maintain the effort and strive towards equalling the effort with execution,” Olson stated.

 C-W begins a six-game road trip this week. They played at Shell Lake on Tuesday, Nov. 30, and will kick off conference play when they head to Cameron on Thursday, Dec. 2. The Bulldogs will travel to St. Croix Falls on Tuesday, Dec. 7.

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