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BCLUW can’t get going against AGWSR in conference opener

T-R PHOTO BY NOAH ROHLFING - BCLUW’s Chloe Walters (52) looks for room to shoot around AGWSR defender Morgan Bakker during the first half of Friday’s NICL West Division opener in Conrad.

CONRAD — Nothing was falling for BCLUW girls basketball Friday night, particularly for star junior Allison Engle.

Engle scored a season-low eight points in the Comets’ 48-31 loss to conference rivals AGWSR (2-1). It’s a season low in points for the Comets (1-2).

BCLUW’s offensive struggles started early and never got fixed, which frustrated head coach Dave Lee.

“We gotta have some help scoring,” Lee said. “That doesn’t mean you have to shoot more, but we gotta score. If you’re not gonna be able to shoot it, maybe get a rebound and put it back. Somehow we gotta have some people scoring the ball. I thought we did a great job defensively.”

After scoring the first two points of the game thanks to a Chloe Walters shot in the lane, and taking the lead briefly with another shot down low from the junior center, a 3-pointer from the Cougars gave them a 5-4 lead late in the first quarter. Walters led BCLUW with 13 points and was the only Comet in double figures.

T-R PHOTO BY NOAH ROHLFING

AGWSR never relinquished the lead.

Trailing 7-5 after one, the Comets quickly fell behind 14-7 thanks to cold shooting and good passing from the Cougars.

One of the key moments of the contest came at the end of the first half. Having gotten the score within five points at 20-15, the Comets were helpless to stop Cougar wing player MaKenna Kuper from burying a 3-pointer from the top of the key with less than three seconds remaining. It knocked the Comets on their heels — their five-point deficit turned into eight in an unexpected way on a night when the offense was not up to par.

Lee said the moment turned the tide of the contest.

“I thought that was a big turning point,” Lee said. “With that amount of time on the clock I thought we did everything right defensively except give [Kuper] an open look.”

The second half proved to be a big struggle. AGWSR’s offense was more effective and was able to get around what was a solid defensive performance from BCLUW. Despite 30 points in the paint, the Comets forced the Cougars to go outside of their comfort zone and make the extra pass to get baskets.

The result was a consistent scoring threat from Alyssa Hames (16 points, seven rebounds) and Grace Finger (13 points and 13 rebounds) and more frustration on the part of Lee.

It’s now two straight defeats for the Comets as they try to get up to speed in a season with new faces and an even bigger emphasis on Engle and Walters to create offense.

Up next for BCLUW is a home game Monday night against Belle Plaine.

AGWSR 48, BCLUW 31

AGWSR (2-1, 1-0) — Alyssa Hames 6 3-3 16, Grace Finger 4 5-5 13, MaKenna Kuper 4 1-2 10, Morgan Bakker 1 2-2 4, Shaylee Hofmeister 1 1-2 3, Brynn Smith 1 0-0 2, Chaylie Lippert 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 17 12-14 48.

BCLUW (1-2, 0-1) — Chloe Walters 5 3-4 13, Allison Engle 3 2-4 8, Presley Engle 2 0-0 5, Betula Messerly 1 1-2 3, Lizzie Garber 1 0-0 2, Katie Hill 0 0-0 0, Anistyn Borsch-Rash 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 12 6-10 31.

AGWSR 7 16 11 14 — 48

BCLUW 5 10 9 7 — 31

3-Point Goals–AGWSR 2 (Hames, Kuper), BCLUW 1 (P. Engle). Team Fouls–AGWSR 13, BCLUW 13. Fouled Out–Walters.

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