A little revenge factor came into place when the Elk Mound boys defeated Fall Creek in a non-conference home game 53-44 Dec. 3. The Crickets were the team that ended the number one seeded Mounders season last year when they won the regional final game 54-46 after Elk Mound had defeated them earlier in the season. They kept their perfect record intact when they traveled to Glenwood City to resume conference play and tripped up the Toppers 58-29 Dec. 6.
When your team jumps out to a huge lead you might expect it’s going to be an easy win, but the Crickets are considered one of the favorites in the Cloverbelt Conference this season and were not going to let the Mounders take an easy win. Dakota Tarnow canned a three ball to start things off for Elk Mound and post player Dexter Curry took advantage of an injury to Fall Creek’s big man Kyle Nelson and scored three straight times in the paint. Tarnow drained another triple, Zac Doll hit a pair of free tosses and Nick Heit hit a three pointer for a 17-3 lead. Austin Hanson added a bucket and the first quarter ended with the Mounders up 19-8
A couple of turnovers on Elk Mound’s part allowed Fall Creek to score on a pair of deuces, cutting the lead to seven at 19-12 before Curry dumped in another basket. Things went downhill from there for the Mounders as they were outscored 11-2 in the next three minutes resulting in a 23-23 score. Curry connected on a baby hook to regain the lead and Heit drove down the lane off a stolen ball for another bucket and a four point lead, but a turnover allowed the Crickets to score again. Curry showed off his passing talents as he found Travis Nelson on a backdoor pass however, and the teams went into the break with the Mounders up 29-25.
Heit hit his second triple of the game early in the third quarter and Curry put in another hook shot and the defense came up with some turnovers, allowing the Mounders to take a 36-26 lead. The teams exchanged buckets with Heit scoring on a drive and the quarter ended with Elk Mound holding a 10 point advantage at 38-28.
Curry fought hard for a rebound and scored his 16th and final points of the game on a put back but the Crickets had one more run in them as they got back to within four points twice at 44-40 and 46-42. Forced to foul, they sent three different Mounders to the free throw line including Hunter Dicus who canned a pair, Nelson hit three of four and Heit went two for two to seal the win. The Crickets were looking to get off some three point shots in the last two minutes but the aggressive defense by the Mounder players didn’t allow them any open looks at the hoop.
“Jumping out to a big lead was important for us because Fall Creek is a great team and you know they are going to make several runs during the game,” Elk Mound coach Chris Hahn said. “Our perimeter players were able to get the down low and we were able to get Curry going in the first half. Doll did a great job in the second half defending one of their top scorers Will Tweed, holding him to one three pointer. We were a bit rushed in the fourth quarter for a few minutes and allowed them to chip away at our lead but we calmly knocked down nine of ten free throws near the end. It was a great non-conference win against a very good team,” he added.
Curry and Heit tied for scoring honors for the Mounders with 16 each, a career high for Curry. Only four Crickets scored in the game with Tweed and Braxton Meyer combining for 40 of their 44 points.
FALL CREEK (44) (Meyer 8-6-8-22, Tweed 5-4-5-18, C. Ische 1-0-0-2, M. Anderson 1-0-2-2
ELK MOUND (53) Heit 5-4-4-26, Curry 8-0-0-16, Nelson 2-3-4-7, Tarnow 2-0-0-6, Doll 1-2-3-4, Hanson 1-0-0-2, Dicus 0-2-2-2
Three Pointers: Tweed 4, Heit 2, Tarnow 2
A stifling defense on the Mounders part held the Toppers to single digits in the first three quarters, including just three points in the first as Elk Mound took a 14-3 lead. Three buckets by Curry in the second stanza to go with five points from Dicus helped the Mounders take a 25-9 lead at the break.
“Dicus played very well for us tonight and worked hard on defense and carried us offensively in the first half when Heit went out with an injury,” Hahn said. “We needed someone to step up and Dicus was that guy.”
The Mounders poured in 21 third quarter points to break open the game with Logan Strom scoring seven along with five from Doll to lead the way. They limited the Toppers to eight points in the quarter for a 46-17 advantage heading into the final quarter. Hanson contributed with six points in the fourth quarter to finish off the rout.
“Strom played a lot of minutes tonight with Heit out and we didn’t miss a beat,” Hahn said. “Hanson also provided some big minutes off the bench. We were able to limit Glenwood to some tough shots with our defense but we didn’t rebound very well and several of their points came off second chance points.”
Curry led the balanced scoring for the Mounders with 10 points.
ELK MOUND (58) Curry 4-2-2-10, Dicus 4-1-2-9, Hanson 4-0-0-8, Strom 2-2-3-7, Tarnow 3-1-2-6, Heit 1-2-2-5, Doll 2-0-0-5, R. Bridges 2-0-0-4, A. Gottschalk 1-0-0-3, Nelson0-1-2-1
GLENWOOD CITY (29) T. Nueske 2-3-4-7, M. Kadinger 2-0-0-5, R. Ross 2-0-2-4, T. Petersen 2-0-0-4, M. Schouten 2-0-0-2, N. Mrdutt 0-2-4-2, C. Wagner 0-2-2-2, T. Johnson 0-1-2-1
THREE POINTERS: Tarnow 2, Heit 1, Gottschalk 1, Doll 1, Strom 1, Kadinger 1