Wildcats sweep three, clinch conference title
Three more wins for the surging Blair-Taylor boys basketball team helped them clinch at least a share of the Dairyland Conference title last week.
Conference wins over Melrose-Mindoro last Tuesday and Gilmanton on Friday improved B-T to 11-0 in the Dairyland, giving them a three-game lead in the Dairyland Small over 8-3 Eau Claire Immanuel Lutheran with three Dairyland games to play. Also on Saturday, B-T took a non-conference win over then 11-4 Cashton to improve their overall record to 15-2 on the season.
B-T traveled to 4-11 Brookwood Monday night, and end their week on Friday at 4-12 Nekoosa. Their next scheduled game is next Tuesday at Independence.
B-T 89 Mel-Min 66
B-T won a battle of Dairyland powerhouses last Tuesday, keeping their Dairyland record unblemished on the season.
Mel-Min, contending for the Dairyland Large in a tight race with Alma Center Lincoln, came into the game motivated to pull off the road upset.
“We knew they would come out firing on all cylinders as they needed this win to help them stay close to the top of the conference race,” said B-T head coach Randy Storlie.
The Mustangs took a six-point lead early on a pair of threes to lead 18-12 early. The Wildcats fought back and eventually took the lead at 27-26, a lead they would not relinquish the rest of the game.
“They made us switch defenses as they can really light-up the scoreboard. with their offense. I was very proud of how our guys responded to the adversity of a big game,” Storlie said.
B-T took a 41-28 advantage into halftime. Early in the second half, the Mustangs would make a run again to cut the lead to nine points, but the Wildcats responded again to seize control late.
“Our guys made plays when we had too. That is the sign of a good team,” Storlie said.
Leading the scoring for Blair-Taylor would be the junior duo of Kyle Steien and Matt Waldera. Steien had 32 points, and Waldera added 26 and 10 rebounds along with four blocked shots and five assists.
Issac Nerby also hit double figures with 11 points. Logan Smith led the defensive effort, grabbing 14 rebounds and tallying nine points as well. Also contributing to the total were Alec Reismann’s six points, followed by Cain Fremstad’s three and Nick Shepherd’s two.
B-T 71 Gilmanton 23
The Wildcats clinched their share of the Dairyland with a runaway victory over Gilmanton on Friday. Coach Storlie was proud of his team for clinching their second consecutive conference title, as well as the program’s 15th in the last 30 years.
“The boys played so well together and it was fun to watch them tonight,” Storlie said. “We obtained one of our goals tonight, to claim a conference title. I’m so happy for the guys.”
Waldera led B-T with 19 points and 12 rebounds, while Steien added 13 points and nine boards. Logan Smith had a well-rounded night of seven points, eight rebounds and five assists, while scoring was rounded out by Reismann’s nine, Kaleb Smith’s five and Tyler Thompson, Shepherd, Fremstad and Kyle Obieglo each with three.
B-T 92 Cashton 73
B-T passed one of their last true non-conference tests of the season on Saturday, topping Cashton in another convincing win.
“They (Cashton) have a nice team and some guys who can really light it up on the offensive end. They are a very good team,” Storlie said. “We were very impressive and the guys played well together.”
Steien was a force in the paint for the Wildcats while knocking down 30 points to lead the team. Nerby added 26 in part thanks to six three-pointers on the night. Logan Smith added 16 and eight boards, while Reismann had 10 points and five assists. Waldera added seven points, 11 boards and five assists, with Fremstad and Shepherd adding two and one points to the team’s total respectively.