The Mounder boys ran their record to 4-0 with a home win over the Elmwood Raiders 55-49 Nov. 27 then went on the road to soundly defeat St. Croix Central 54-18 two days later.
It was a true test for the Mounders early in the season as the Raiders are one of the teams picked to finish near the top of the conference this year. Elmwood held a 14-9 advantage after the first quarter with help by a three pointer from three different players while Dexter Curry had five of the Elk Mound points on two buckets and a free toss.
Nick Heit had the hot hand in the second stanza for the Mounders as he canned three triples and Zac Doll added one of his own with a free throw, but even after outscoring the Raiders 17-14, they were down 28-26 at the half.
The third quarter was the turning point of the game however, as the Raiders were held to a single basket by Eli Fredrickson while Doll connected for two buckets and Travis Nelson, Dakota Tarnow and Ryan Bridges all contributed with one each, giving Elk Mound a 36-30 lead heading into the final eight minutes.
The lead didn’t last as the Raiders went on a run to go ahead by a point and held that lead with about 3:00 to go. Tarnow came up big with a bucket and added a free throw for the go ahead points and the Mounders held onto the lead to pick up the win. As a team, they hit nine of 12 free throws in the quarter with Doll nailing six of seven.
Elmwood’s leading scorer from last year, Kyle Webb, saw a lot of bench time as he picked up three fouls early in the game, according to Elk Mound coach Chris Hahn. And their second leading scorer Logan Wolfe, did manage to score 17 points with 10 coming in the final quarter.
“I thought Doll did a nice job guarding Wolf the entire game,” Hahn said. “Elmwood isn’t as deep as we are and when Webb got into foul trouble, that made an impact on what they were able to do. We controlled the defensive glass better tonight then we have in our two previous games and that made a huge difference for us. I wasn’t sure how we would respond after we fell behind in the fourth quarter but Tarnow made a great play to score and draw the foul. I was happy with the effort our team gave but we had a number of times where we had defensive breakdowns or we didn’t communicate very well. It was fun to play a great team like Elmwood and come out on top,” he added.
Doll led the Mounders with 18 points while Heit and Curry added 11 each. The team finished 11 of 17 from the foul line with Doll nine for 11 while the Raiders were seven of 12.
ELMWOOD (49) Wolf 5-5-6-17, Webb 4-2-5-10, D. Rhy 3-0-0-8, Fredrickson 3-0-1-6, T. Laflex 2-0-0-5, S. Jones 1-0-0-3
ELK MOUND (55) Doll 5-7-9-18, Heit 3-2-2-11, Curry 5-1-4-11, Tarnow 3-1-2-7, Nelson 2-0-0-4, H. Dicus 1-0-0-2, Bridges 1-0-0-2
Three Pointers: Heit 3, Rhy 2, Wolf 2, Doll 1, Laflex 1, Jones 1
St. Croix Central
The Panthers were no match for the Mounders as they were held to single digit scoring in all four quarters. Elk Mound jumped out to a big lead after the first quarter when Nelson and Austin Hanson came off the bench midway through the quarter and sparked a 16-1 run and they led 16-3 at the end of it. Doll had seven of the team’s points in the run. The defense put the clamps on Central in the second stanza, allowing just one basket and took a 26-5 lead at the half.
The lead remained at 21 points going into the final eight minutes at 31-10 and Logan Strom canned a pair of three pointers for Elk Mound and Hunter Kohls added another to account for nine of their 13 fourth quarter points to finish off the rout.
Hahn was pleased with his team’s defense, as they held Central’s leading scorer Tyler Lathe to just two points, but was disappointed in their ball handling skills.
“We had way too many turnovers and were sloppy with the ball,” he said. “We didn’t value possessions and we need to get better at limiting our mistakes so we can get shots off on each possession.”
Doll was the only Mounder to finish in double digits but he nearly outscored the entire Panther team, finishing with 15 points. Hanson and Curry both collected five rebounds to lead the team. The Mounders shot just five of 17 from long range in the contest and were five of six from the foul line.
ELK MOUND (54) Doll 7-0-0-15, Hanson 4-1-2-9, Strom 2-0-0-6, Bridges 2-2-2-6, Nelson 2-0-0-5, Dicus 2-0-0-4, Curry 2-0-0-4, Kohls 1, 0-0-3, Heit 0-1-2-1
ST. CROIX CENTRAL (18) Z. Lewis 3-1-2-8, J. Matteson 2-0-0-5, D. Jones 1-0-0-2, Lathe 1-0-0-2, B. Scheffler 0-1-2-1
Three Pointers: Strom 2, Doll 1, Kohls 1, Nelson 1, Matteson 1, Lewis 1