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Bayfield girls begin with home win

Foutz’s 22 carries BHS past Durango JV
Bayfield sophomore Renae Foutz dribbles through midcourt against the Durango JV’s Josie Phare during season-opening play on Thursday inside the BHS gymnasium. Foutz scored 22 points in the Wolverines’ 40-18 win. (Joel Priest/Special to the Herald)

Knocking down an emphatic, straight-on three-pointer just before the final buzzer, sophomore Renae Foutz finished with a game-high 22 points on Thursday as the Bayfield Wolverines began their 2022-23 season with a 40-18 home win over 5A Durango’s junior varsity.

“I kept hearing my old coach, Tiarra (Christensen), in the back of my mind telling me ‘Go up strong!’” a grinning Foutz said afterward, “and I saw my number up on the (score) board: 19 points. I said, ‘Coach, I want 20! Can we do this play for me?’ She said ‘OK’ and I made it!”

“Renae played a great game,” said BHS head coach Lauren Moran. “We really threw her to the fire last year – a freshman point guard playing the competition that we do – and it wasn’t always easy, but it’s obviously paid dividends. She’s improved a lot, she’s really tough and loves playing against tough competition.”

Guard Rose Hinds got the Demons (0-2) off to a good start with an ice-breaking triple, but senior Alaysia Kremer soon got the Wolverines (1-0, 0-0 3A Intermountain) going with a two-pointer and Bayfield closed out the first quarter leading 7-3. Uninterrupted by a DHS 30-second timeout, taken with 4:24 left in the second and BHS leading by 11 points, the Wolverines rolled into halftime up 23-3.

“We knew we could have beat them last year, and we were kind of upset that we didn’t,” Foutz said. “So we came with a vengeance, played like we know how to play. Talked, communicated and just had fun; we were hungry for this game.”

Bayfield junior Michelle Kirk blocks Durango JV shooter Hadley Denney’s attempt during season-opening play Thursday inside BHS Gymnasium. The Wolverines prevailed 40-18. (Joel Priest/Special to the Herald)

The victory, however, came at a cost. Driving to the basket early in the third quarter, Kremer went down with an injured left ankle and did not return to action. Able to return to the bench wearing a protective ‘boot,’ she otherwise seemed to be in good spirits.

“I’m definitely feeling a lot better than I did last year, when we lost against them,” she said. “All of us are wanting to play and be out there. But after this little incident … hopefully I’ll be back in a couple games.”

“I want to err on the side of caution with her, because last year she did reinjure it,” Moran said. “I’d like to not go down that road again. Another ankle injury – it’s just really upsetting; she dealt with that so much last year, and she … hates to be out of the game. She brings so much energy to our team – even when she’s on the bench – so I’m hoping she can make a quick recovery.”

With junior Lily Lewin also unable to play after having wisdom teeth extracted earlier in the day, BHS got help from freshman reserve Lily Muir, who canned a three-pointer and totaled seven points. Junior Sofia Pour Toujours en Amour chipped in two fourth-quarter points as Bayfield won the bench battle 9 -7.

Junior starters Michelle Kirk (3 points) and Madison Mead (2) also contributed offensively, giving the home side six scorers to the guests’ five. Hinds and Hadley Denney each ended up with five points for the Demons, while Netta Johnson and Aileen McManus each booked three.

Bayfield finished 6-of-14 from the free-throw line; the Durango JV went 5-of-15.

The Wolverines will next travel to 2A Dolores on Tuesday; the Bears began at 1A Sangre de Cristo’s Thunderbird Shootout, Dec. 1-3 in Mosca, but fell 50-4 to 1A Cheraw on Day 1.

“I tried to emphasize in the locker room to the girls that we saw a lot of things we do need to improve,” Moran said. “We’ll have practice Friday, Saturday and Monday, and we’ll use those opportunities to keep trying to get 1% better every day … so that we can give it our best showing.”

Bayfield freshman Delilah Zink hits the floor to fight for possession on Thursday inside the BHS gymnasium against Durango’s JV. The Wolverines prevailed 40-18. (Joel Priest/Special to the Herald)