Comets celebrate champs, chase away Baxter, 54-44
CONRAD — Season-opening jitters were accentuated by the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the school’s only girls state basketball championship.
BCLUW head coach Dave Lee spent more time on Friday worrying about that than what kind of opposition the Baxter Bolts would provide in the season opener.
All of Lee’s thoughts and fears were quelled when his Comets compiled a 12-0 run to start the fourth quarter as BCLUW chased off the Bolts 54-44 to start the season 1-0.
BCLUW honored the 50th anniversary of the state champion 1968 Union-Whitten girls basketball team, showing video of its 113-107 overtime victory against Everly while welcoming back players and coaches from that squad at halftime. Lee, who grew up in western Iowa and was rooting for the opposing Cattlefeeders some 49 years ago, was anxious to see his team put on a show in that team’s honor.
“You’re almost scared of [losing],” he said. “I spent more time worrying about that this afternoon than anything else. I wanted to at least be close at halftime when I knew they’d all be here.”
Powered by a persistent post presence, the Comets carried a one-point lead into the intermission, 22-21, and pulled away after halftime. Madison Ubben and Lauren Anderson combined to score 37 of the Comets’ 54 points as both achieved new career-highs to help BCLUW get the season-opening victory.
Anderson scored the game’s first six points and finished with a career-high 16 points, while Ubben had nine of her career-best 21 points in the third quarter alone. As Baxter (0-1) extended its 2-3 zone late in the game to try and force the Comets into turnovers, BCLUW maneuvered its way around the defense and found Ubben posting up in the paint.
A 12-0 run to start the fourth quarter was the deciding factor as BCLUW’s 35-33 lead quickly grew to double-digits. Only some shaky free-throw shooting prevented the Comets from pulling away even further.
“We’re going to be a work-in-progress,” said Lee. “There were a lot of good things we saw tonight. … I was pretty impressed in the third quarter how we just came out and took control of the ballgame.”
BCLUW struggled to do so without its starting point guard. Junior Kaylee Goecke was tagged for three fouls in the first 4 minutes, 28 seconds, and spent the remainder of the first half on the bench. Katie Thompson stepped into the role after missing all of last season with an injury and held the Comets together well enough to have a slim lead at halftime.
The final turnover tally was 24 miscues for BCLUW, but Baxter lacked the scoring punch to take advantage in the half-court. The Bolts also felt the absence of their starting forward Sadie Meyer, who got ticketed for two fouls in the first 1:23 and sat the rest of the first half, too.
“They’re a scrappy team, they played hard, and I think that’s going to be their trademark,” Lee said of Baxter. “It was a good ballgame for us because they really came after us hard and made us take care of it and I thought we did a better job of that as the game went on.”
Anderson finished with team-highs of 16 rebounds, five assists, five steals and five blocked shots, while Ubben had seven boards, four assists and a blocked shot. Bailey Ashton pitched in five points and three steals off the bench, while Thompson finished with four points and three steals.
Sailor Hinegardner scored nearly half of Baxter’s points, leading the Bolts with 21.
BCLUW returns to the court on Tuesday night, traveling to face Roland-Story in Story City.
BCLUW 54, Baxter 44
BAXTER (0-1) — Sailor Hinegardner 9 3-8 21, Jordynn Wesselink 2 1-2 5, Ashlee Johnson 0 0-0 0, Sydney Schmidt 1 0-0 2, Sadie Meyer 2 2-2 6, McKenzie Eslinger 0 2-4 2, Holly Jessen 0 0-0 0, Kaitlynn Kelly 0 0-0 0, Sophie Meyer 1 1-2 3, Caitlyn Bruntz 0 0-0 0, Kaylin Van Ryswk 2 1-2 5. TOTALS 17 10-20 44.
BCLUW (1-0) — Kaylee Goecke 0 3-4 3, Brooke Aalfs 1 1-2 3, Lauren Anderson 6 4-10 16, Easton Swanson 1 0-1 2, Madison Ubben 9 3-8 21, Katie Thompson 2 0-0 4, Bailey Ashton 1 3-4 5, Lili Wilson 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 20 14-29 54.
BAXTER 8 13 12 11 — 44
BCLUW 14 8 13 19 — 54
3-Point Goals–none. Total Fouls–Baxter 23, BCLUW 15. Fouled out–S.Meyer. Technical Foul–Baxter bench.