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Bolts beat Hancock 55-33, stay unbeaten

HANCOCK — Wedesday night’s matchup at Hancock followed a now all-too-familiar pattern for the Dollar Bay-Tamarack City boys’ basketball team.

The Blue Bolts (5-0), playing for the second straight night, started slow again, with a first half marred by poor shooting and foul trouble, before outscoring the Bulldogs (0-3) in the second half 33-14 en route to a 55-33 win.

“That’s actually the story of the season so far,” said Bolts coach Jake Stevens. “That’s our third (straight) slow start for whatever reason on the offensive side. I liked the defense a little bit more (compared to Saturday at Lake Linden-Hubbell), but our shooting, I don’t know what’s going on. We just take a little bit too long to warm up lately.”

The night got off to an interesting start before the contest was even underway. Due to technical difficulites with the microphone in the HCH gym, game referee Jim Weiler actually sang an unamplified acappella rendition of the national anthem, helped along by the fans in attendance.

That touching moment was followed by a mostly ugly first quarter of basketball. It took over two minutes for Hancock to score the first points of the contest. The Bulldogs — who only dressed seven players — were able to control possession for much of the early going, but both teams struggled to make layups and jump shots alike.

Dollar Bay was able to take over the lead at 6-4, but from there both squads found their footing and traded a succession of baskets over the last two minutes of the quarter. Hancock emerged with a slight lead after the first horn, 11-10.

Because of early fouls committed by the Bolts, Hancock got into the bonus early, with about 6:30 left in the first half. The Bulldogs did not take advantage howerver, only going 6-12 at the line in the first half.

DB still continued to miss from the perimeter, but was able get inside for easier scores just enough to take a slim 22-19 lead into halftime.

“Our defensive intensity was right there,” Hancock coach Ramon Sague said. “We were all over Davin Hill. We wanted to shut him down as much as we could.

“They were playing good defense and we were playing good defense and we were able to break their press. Then, towards the end of the first half, we started to turn the ball over a little bit and we started to wear down.”

Dollar Bay senior Connor LeClaire picked up his third personal foul in the first minute of the second half, but Stevens left him on the floor, allowing him to rack up a game-high 21 points to go along with nine rebounds.

A steal by DB junior AJ Datto fed through senior point guard Davin Hill to LeClaire finshed a 10-1 Bolts run to open the third quarter. From there — 32-20 in Dollar Bay’s favor — the home team never really threatened again. LeClaire put in seven strainght points to end the period at 41-24.

Hancock tried to climb out of that hole in the fourth quarter with a flurry of 3-point shots, but couldn’t get any to fall.

Although the usual trio of Datto (10 points), Hill (9 points, 10 assists, 8 rebounds), and LeClaire provided most of the Blue Bolt production, as is usually the case, sophomore Chase Benson was also a key contributor. Benson chipped in nine points and six rebounds, providing a key inside presence off the bench, especially later in the first half and early in the second.

“He’s been really solid for us (during the) last couple of games,” Stevens said. “Chase has a knack for finding that open area under the bucket, especially (off) screen and roll. He’s just really natural at finding himself open and (his teammates) do a good job of finding him when he is there.”

Bulldog senior point guard Carson Chynoweth led the way for his group with 13 points, the only Hancock player in double-figures.

Hancock stays home with a 6:15 p.m. Friday matchup against Iron Mountain. DB-TC hosts Wakefield-Marenisco at 7:30 p.m.

DB-TC 10 12 19 14 — 55

HCHS 11 8 5 9 — 33

DOLLAR BAY-TAMARACK CITY (55): LeClaire 21, Datto 10, Benson 9, Hill 9, Keesling 3, Norland 2, Randell 1. FT: 7-12. 3-point FG: Datto 1, Hill 1, Keesling 1, LeClaire 1.

HANCOCK (33): Chynoweth 13, Jacques 6, Smith 5, Lewis 4, Sebbas 3, Pietila 2. FT: 10-21. 3-point FG: Chynoweth 1.

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