The Bayfield High School girls basketball team has all the makings of postseason team. The Wolverines have balanced scoring, play solid defense and have a talented, youthful roster. But in Saturday’s Class 3A Intermountain League third-place game against Alamosa at Monte Vista High School, the Wolverines were unable to use their strengths and lost 50-29.
With the loss, Bayfield (9-13) will miss out on the Class 3A playoffs. Bayfield needed some help as the Wolverines started the day with the No. 38 RPI, which helps determine the Class 3A field. In the end, it wasn’t enough, as the Mean Moose (17-5) proved too strong for BHS. The Wolverines moved up a spot, but finished five places short in 37th in the RPI.
“I felt like we had a pretty strong season and we were peaking really well at the end,” said Bayfield head coach Josh Kitchen. “Tonight, I thought we came out well to start the game, and we competed hard in the first half. But Alamosa shot better than we did, their defense was a bit more consistent. We had a really strong finish to the season, but it wasn’t the finish we were hoping for.”
Kitchen said Macee Schulz led the team in scoring, but exact statistics were unavailable. He also mentioned that freshman Riley Campbell and Maddy Oltmanns also had strong performances.
Bayfield will return every player on its roster next season, as the Wolverines did not have a senior on this year’s team. Kitchen believes that with the amount of experience coming back, the Wolverines can reach the playoffs next season for the first time since 2013.
“Obviously we’re really excited about the future and our goal for this year was to build,” Kitchen said, who finished his third season in charge. “You have to build to be competitive in the Intermountain League. We see tons of potential and a lot of it is experience. In recent history, Bayfield hasn’t had a strong girls tradition, but these girls are at the forefront of the future. We’re slowly getting there and we’re hoping to beat teams like Centauri, Alamosa or Pagosa Springs next year.
Kitchen’s offseason plan is to have the Wolverines compete in tournaments in spring and summer. He said Bayfield will try to play close to 30 games, which will help the team for next season. His other goal is to work closely with middle school players so the transition into the high school level is more efficient.
“We’ve done 24 and a 30-game spring and summer seasons,” Kitchen said. “That will help us immensely. I thought we really expanded our options offensively this year, and as we continue, we are going to have to keep expanding our defensive sets. Our development of the 2-3 (zone) is great, and we’ve got to be a bit more dynamic defensively. I also think our transition game has to get better. If we can improve on that, we can hang with really talented teams.”
Kitchen believes the Wolverines closed the gap, and the program is on the cusp of breaking through in the rugged Intermountain League and beyond.
“I’m proud of the commitment level they’ve shown, it’s really impressive,” He said. “They worked tremendously hard this year, and we came up a bit short in the end. Still, we’re returning everybody for next season, and I think if we can improve in certain areas, we are going to keep contending for the playoffs, and we’ll get in soon.”
Boys basketballThe Bayfield High School boys basketball team lost in the Intermountain League third-place game to Pagosa Springs at Monte Vista on Saturday. Statistics or Bayfield head coach Klint Chandler were unavailable.
The Wolverines (4-18) reached the third-place game after upsetting Montezuma-Cortez on Tuesday before falling to Centauri in the semifinals on Thursday. The Wolverines will also return most of their roster, as they will lose one player to graduation in Larenz Wilbourn. It was the first time Bayfield had failed to qualify for the Class 3A playoffs since the 2014 season.