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Rally can’t rescue Bayfield in home opener

Lady Wolverines fall 28-23 to Dolores
Dolores senior Kylee Burt tries keeping her balance while both looking to pass and taking contact from Bayfield junior Renae Foutz (14) during DHS' road win Tuesday night inside BHS Gymnasium. (Courtesy Joel Priest)

Selecting the perfect spot – the far corner opposite her team’s bench – from which to sink her second of two fourth-quarter 3-pointers Tuesday night, junior guard Renae Foutz not only cut short visiting Dolores’ momentum-shifting 7-2 run, but gave Bayfield at least a chance at an overtime-forcing miracle.

Bayfield coach Scott Key called a 30-second timeout with his team down 27-23 with 6.9 seconds left in the fourth quarter, but the Wolverines were unable to goad any Bears players into committing a foul on a desperation trey – which, after being forced up from the near corner by neither Foutz nor senior guard Genesis Barrera, resulted only in Dolores sophomore Taylor Erautt going to the free-throw line with 1.4 ticks remaining.

After Eautt hit one of two tries, Dolores secured a 28-23 road win – evening the Lady Bears’ record at 2-2 overall. Erautt finished with seven points.

“Our defense was fabulous; the girls worked hard,” said Dolores coach Tiffany Hill, whose squad had to overcome the absence of senior Ashlyn Mikkelson and junior Halee Kibel. “And them learning to work together to execute the offense … even though it’s not great, we’re still kind of getting there and seeing it.”

The Lady Wolverines eventually pulled even, 6-6 via a Foutz basket assisted by senior Madison Mead, but DHS promptly countered with an inside basket by senior Mikayla Puett and the first quarter would expire with the guests leading 9-6. Mead got the second quarter started on the right note for BHS. But after the contest’s pace slowed drastically, Bayfield could do no more than retie at 10-all via a jumper by sophomore Lily Muir with 1:07 left until halftime.

Dolores pulled ahead on a driving layup just before the buzzer sounded, later building a 20-12 lead with just eight minutes left in regulation.

However, the wolverines clawed back.

Mead hit a free throw, and Foutz – playing with four personal fouls – swished her first triple only inches away from a suddenly reinvigorated student section. Converting a steal into two more points with 4:59 to go, Foutz (13 points) brought Bayfield back to 20-18 before Dolores gained crucial separation thanks to an Erautt basket a couple clutch free throws.

Dolores junior Savannah Stiegelmeyer then cut inside for a layup to extend the Bears’ lead to 27-20.

“I said if they saw it, or they could see it, to do layups only,” Hill said, recalling her late-game instructions. “Otherwise, slow it down on offense. But they were finally seeing cuts that we were trying to see earlier in the game. So that was good.”

Barrera and Mead each totaled three points for Bayfield (1-1). Bayfield shot 5 of 14 from the foul line, while Dolores shot 9 of 25 from the free throw line.

The Wolverines will play at Telluride on Dec. 12, followed by a trip to Del Norte on Dec. 15.