Playing a non-conference game at home against Eleva-Strum Nov. 13, then beginning conference play on the road against Boyceville, a sectional finalist last year just two days later, the Elk Mound boys began their season with a pair of wins, defeating the Cardinals 57-41 and the Bulldogs 62-36.
Nick Heit scored the first points of the Mounder’s season when he canned a three pointer from the corner just 20 seconds into the game and Elk Mound held the lead the rest of the way. Hunter Dicus added a layup after a steal, Zac Doll nailed a triple, Adam Gottschalk scored on a putback and added a three ball with Dakota Tarnow adding his own long ball in between as the Mounders held a 16-7 lead after a quarter of play.
Dexter Curry got into the scoring action with a bucket in the paint to start the second quarter and with another three pointer by Doll, a layup from Heit and another deuce from Doll, the Mounders pulled out to a 25-9 advantage. A triple by Travis Nelson increased the lead to 33-13 and after a short run by the Cardinals, the Mounders held a 33-18 halftime lead.
Curry picked up his third deuce to start the third stanza and Heit, Tarnow, and Dicus all followed suit to go with another Tarnow triple and the Mounders were up 44-27. But some sloppy play on the Mounders’ part, which is not unusual for a first game especially with just six practices under their belts, allowed the Cardinals to get back to within 10 points with just over six minutes left in the final quarter. Nelson canned another three ball, then assisted Curry underneath for a deuce and Elk Mound was back in control at 52-37. Neither team had been in the bonus the first half, but the Cardinals committed their seventh foul in the second half with 1:50 left in the game and Hunter Kohls ended the Mounder scoring making one of two free tosses.
“I was happy with our effort in the first half,” Elk Mound coach Chris Hahn said. “The kids did a great job executing our game plan. We looked tired and lost our focus a bit in the second half and gave them too many looks, allowing them to get back in the game. We will need to work on playing a full 32 minutes. But we had balanced scoring and it was a great way to start the season,” he added.
Eight players scored for the Mounders with Doll leading the way with 13 points and Heit and Curry both contributed with 10. As a team they knocked down 11 three pointers. Abram Pedersen led the Cardinals with 20 points.
Eleva-Strum: (41) (FG-FT-FTA-PTS)
Pedersen 8-2-4-20, J. Rogness 3-0-0-6, T. Berg 2-1-2-5, A. Thronson 2-0-0-4, C. Higley 1-0-0-3, C. Watkins 1-0-0-3
Elk Mound: (57) Doll 5-0-0-13, Heit 4-0-0-10, Curry 5-0-0-10, Tarnow 4-0-0-8, Nelson 2-0-0-6, A. Gottschalk 2-0-0-5, Dicus 2-0-0-4, Kohls 0-1-2-1
Three Pointers: Doll 3, Tarnow 3, Heit 2, Nelson 2, Pedersen 2,Gottschalk 1, Higley 1, Watkins 1
The scoring was evenly distributed again as nine Mounders found the bottom of the net and they jumped out to an 18-9 first quarter lead. Playing a pressure defense, Elk Mound forced the Bulldogs into several turnovers and took advantage of it, scoring from inside and outside as Curry dropped in three buckets and Doll and Tarnow both drained a triple.
The Mounder lead increased to 19 points at the break at 34-15 and they pulled away for good by outscoring the Bulldogs 16-9 in the third quarter. Doll topped the Mounder scorers again with 14 points while Heit ended in double figures with 11 along with 10 from Curry.
“We were able to speed them up with our full court press and made them play a bit faster than they wanted to play,” Hahn said. “We had the tempo in our favor for most of the game and that helped us build a first half lead. We did a great job of getting Curry involved early in the game and Hunter Dicus gave us a great effort and Tarnow gave us great energy. We now get a few practices before we play a very good Elmwood team.”
The Mounders will host Elmwood Tuesday, Nov. 27.
Elk Mound (62) Doll 6-1-1-14, Heit 5-0-0-11, Curry 5-0-0-10, A. Hanson 4-0-0-8, Tarnow 1-2-2-5, Nelson 2-0-0-5, Kohls 2-0-1-4, Dicus 1-1-1-3, L. Strom 0-2-2-2
Boyceville (36) M. Lagerstrom 4-2-2-13, M. Leach 5-0-2-10, B. Schutts 0-5-6-5, J. Kuhn 2-0-0-4, R. Williams 0-2-2-2, Z. Klassen 1-0-0-2
Three Pointers: Lagerstrom 3, Heit, 1, Doll 1, Nelson 1, Tarnow 1