B-T boys team loses three

The Blair-Taylor boys basketball team just couldn’t get over the hump, losing three games last week.

The Wildcats were in all three games, but the opponents went on runs in the second half to clinch wins. B-T lost to Port Edwards last week Monday before falling to Melrose-Mindoro on Thursday and Royall on Saturday. All three games were played on the road with the Royall game being at Just A Game Fieldhouse in Wisconsin Dells.

B-T began this week with a 6-14 record and a 3-6 mark in Dairyland Conference play, behind Melrose-Mindoro and Whitehall (both 7-4) in the Large Division. The Wildcats host Whitehall on Thursday. 

This coming Tuesday, B-T welcomes Eau Claire Immanuel Lutheran before Eleva-Strum comes to Blair next Friday. 

Port Edwards 71 B-T 59

The Wildcats went cold down the stretch as the Blackhawks pulled away for the win.

B-T coach Randy Storlie said his team was right in the game until the final three minutes. B-T trailed 36-35 at halftime, but stuck with Port Edwards for most of the second half. B-T trailed 61-59 with three minutes remaining, but missed seven straight shots as Port Edwards closed with a 9-0 run. 

“Man, we were right there and just went ice cold from the floor in the final minutes,” Storlie said. “It has been our Achilles heal all year, just struggling in the final minutes of games to score. We played so hard, so I am proud of the guys, but we have to just get better.”

Ethan Kniseley had a team-high 18 points for the Wildcats while Easton Arneson added 14. Michael Waldera was third on the team with nine points, CJ Dummer added seven; Ryan Oldendorf and Tavian Shramek, four and Austin Thompson scored three. 

Mel-Min 71 B-T 63

The Wildcats were ahead for much of the game, but the Mustangs closed with an 8-0 run to get the win.

“It is just a broken record for us this season,” Storlie said. “We just struggle down the stretch to score and let chances to win the game slip away. I am so proud of our efforts and hustle and being so out sized our kids really did a fantastic job on the boards, but you have to put points on the board in crunch time and we didn’t.”

B-T took a 33-28 lead into halftime before the Mustangs came back to take the lead midway through the second half. B-T tied the game at 63 with three minutes left, but couldn’t score again. 

Kniseley had 13 points to lead B-T while Arneson and Dummer both scored 12, Oldendorf, nine; Thompson and Waldera, six and Shramek finished with five. 

Royall 66 B-T 53

The Wildcats kept pace early, but the Panthers took control of the game early in the second half.

B-T trailed 39-31 at halftime before the fourth-ranked Division Five team in the state scored six straight and never looked back. 

“Our guys didn’t back down today,” Storlie said. “We went toe-to-toe with them.”

Storlie said he was proud of how his team played hard, but once Royall went ahead by 14 early in the second half, B-T wasn’t able to close the gap. 

Dummer had a team-high 13 points for B-T while Kniseley scored 12 and both Shramek and Arneson finished with 10. Wagner added three points and both Thompson and Oldendorf finished with two. 

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