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Baxter boys split pair with ISC North squads

Jan. 8—BAXTER — Baxter head boys' basketball coach Zach Hasselbrink expects Dunkerton to make a deep postseason run later this winter.

He wanted to use Friday night's Iowa Star Conference cross-division matchup to see where his new-look Bolts' roster stacked up against a talented Raider squad.

While the end result was not what Baxter hoped for, Hasselbrink and his coaching staff took away a lot of positives from the 58-54 home loss.

"(Dunkerton) is averaging over 80 points per game and we held them to 58," Hasselbrink said. "We did enough at that end to win the game. Offensively, we just need to clean up turnovers and we're right there."

Perrin Sulzle

Turnovers were the biggest difference in the game for the Bolts. The home team rallied from a few double-digit deficits in the first half but turnovers kept them from getting over the hump.

Baxter led 4-2 early after buckets by Perrin Sulzle, but Dunkerton used an 11-0 run to gain an advantage it wouldn't give up the rest of the way.

Three-pointers by Stadan Vansice and Ben Richardson kept the Bolts within six and another Sulzle basket made it 20-14 after one quarter.

A drive to the bucket by Eli Dee kept the deficit at six early in the second and back-to-back hoops by Treyton Travis and Richardson trimmed the margin to four. It was a five-point game at hafltime.

"It's a resilient group. That's what was I most proud of," Hasselbrink said. "At no point did we ever just give in. We didn't waive the white flag."

The Raiders opened the second half with a 6-2 run to get their lead back to double digits. Travis responded with five straight, but Dunkerton went right back up nine with four straight.

The margin was just four after three following a 3 by Travis and baskets by Sulzle and Richardson, who converted a contested shot in the lane as the horn sounded.

Travis kept the Bolts' deficit at 44-40 with a layup early in the fourth, but Baxter turned the ball over four times in five possessions. That allowed the Dunkerton lead to grow to 10 again.

"The turnovers were bad. They were mostly unforced," Hasselbrink said. "We have to clean up those. And they came at untimely times. We did a great job of weathering the storm but then turned it over a few times in a row to halt the comeback."

Treyton Travis

Baxter senior Treyton Travis, left, put in 16 points against Dunkerton on Friday and scored 31 in the team's win over Janesville last Tuesday. (Troy Hyde/Newton News)

Still, the Bolts didn't go away quietly. Sulzle scored again inside, Richardson made 1-of-2 from the free-throw line and Travis drained a jumper while falling out of bounds and that closed the margin to five.

Down six, a 3 by Travis went in and then back out. Dee and Sulzle both made treys in the final 15 seconds, but Dunkerton connected on four free throws in the final 30 seconds to close out the road win.

"That's a good team. We want that battle. It will make us better," Hasselbrink said. "Those two guys (Dylan Marquart and Noah Fuelling) can stroke it. We knew this team would go on runs. That's what they do. We just had to weather those runs, and we did that for the most part. We gave ourselves a chance.

"When you hold a team averaging 80 to 58, you did something right. Someone had to win and someone had to lose."

Dee was playing in his second game of the season after missing the first part of the year with an injury suffered during the fall football campaign.

Baxter (8-2) was just getting back to full strength, but Vansice went down in the game Friday with an arm or elbow injury. Hasselbrink thought he could have went back into the game if necessary.

"There was just a lot of soreness," Hasselbrink said. "We are still trying to find our way. Eli is back but is not fully back. We are trying to figure out where he fits and now Stadan gets hurt tonight. We are still trying to figure out where we want things to come from and where we need to be."

Sulzle finished with 16 points, six rebounds and three assists to lead the Bolts, while Travis added 16 points, five rebounds and three assists.

Dee scored a career-best nine points and added two boards and two assists, Richardson tallied eight points and three rebounds and Vansice chipped in three points and two boards. Cainan Travis grabbed a team-best seven rebounds and delivered two assists.

The Bolts shot 45.7 percent from the floor, made 7-of-20 from 3 and connected on 5-of-6 from the foul line. They turned the ball over 19 times.

Ben Richardson

Baxter senior Ben Richardson looks for space on the baseline during the second half against Dunkerton on Friday. (Troy Hyde/Newton News)

Dunkerton (9-1) only committed seven turnovers and was 8-of-12 from the foul line. The Raiders shot lower than 40 percent from the floor and made 6-of-18 from 3.

Dylan Marquart scored 14 points and Noah Fuelling added 11 points. They came into the game averaging a combined 43 points per tilt.

Jacob Snyder tallied nine points and eight rebounds and Dalton Weeple chipped in eight points, five boards and four assists.

"We knew this one was going to be a battle. It was exactly the kind of game we wanted," Hasselbrink said. "We were right there. I'm proud of the effort. We limited their best players and followed the gameplan on defense almost perfectly."

Dunkerton came into the game with a points-per-game differential of 23.7.

"This is a team we think can be a district or substate final type of team," Hasselbrink said. "So where do we stand? And we feel good about that right now. When we are at our best, we're a scary team. We're not even full strength yet. When it all comes together, who knows what we can be."

Baxter 54, Janesville 51

JANESVILLE — Another 30-point effort by Treyton Travis helped Baxter edge Janesville on Tuesday.

Travis set a new school record with seven made 3-pointers and strong first and fourth frames pushed the Bolts to a 54-51 road win during an Iowa Star Conference cross-division matchup.

Baxter led 12-6 after one and went into halftime up three. The Wildcats rallied to go in front with a 15-9 third, but the Bolts used a 17-11 fourth to score the narrow win.

Travis scored 31 points, grabbed five rebounds and dished out three assists. He was 7-of-9 from 3-point range.

Sulzle finished with 12 points, eight rebounds and two assists, Vansice tallied five points, four boards and two assists and Cainan Travis scored four points.

Richardson pulled down three rebounds and Dee had two rebounds in his season debut.

The Bolts shot 39 percent from the floor, made 9-of-20 from 3 and buried 13-of-19 from the foul line. Baxter turned the ball over 17 times.

Cainan Travis

Baxter junior Cainan Travis, right, passes the ball to a teammate during the team's home loss to Dunkerton on Friday. Travis grabbed a team-best seven rebounds in the game. (Troy Hyde/Newton News)

Talan Pletz had 14 points and five assists for Janesville. Gabe Meaney had 10 points and nine rebounds and Joe Klene added eight points and six boards.

The Wildcats (4-4) shot 56 percent from the floor but made just 3-of-14 from 3 and 4-of-11 from the foul line. Janesville turned the ball over 12 times.