Having the luxury of playing at home with temperatures below 0 all week, the Elk Mound boys didn’t make the Eau Claire Regis Ramblers or the Glenwood City Hilltoppers feel very welcome as they ran over Regis 45-32 Jan. 21, then after holding a slim two point lead at the half against the Toppers, pulled out a 56-44 win Jan. 24.
Beating the Ramblers was a big step for the Mounders as Regis is in the same regional and they could face each other again come tournament time. A humongous 17-4 first quarter lead allowed Elk Mound to get past poor shooting in the second and third quarters according to coach Chris Hahn, as they scored just 15 points while the Ramblers came up with 21, cutting the Mounders lead to eight points at 32-25 heading into the final quarter.
Free throws and team defense were the big difference the rest of the game as Nick Heit connected on 5 of 6 from the charity stripe, Dakota Tarnow and Ryan Bridges were both 2 for 2 and Zac Doll went 2 for 4 and had the only bucket of the quarter for the Mounders. Their defense played solid enough to pull away for the win as they limited Regis to seven points in the quarter.
“We did a great job of coming ready to play tonight,” Hahn said. “Our intensity and ball movement in the first quarter was a big reason we jumped out to an early lead. Sometimes shots aren’t going to fall and teams need to rely on their defense. We did a great job of playing through some stretches where the ball didn’t go down and we still competed hard on the defensive end.”
In their lowest scoring output of the season, Heit led the Mounders with 14 points including a 7 for 8 performance at the free throw line while Doll, coming back from a weeklong flu bug, added 13. Ryan Bridges, starting his first game of the season for an injured Dexter Curry finished with eight points, seven rebounds and three steals. Elk Mound held Regis’ leading scorers Billy Wampler and Nick Stanke to five and six points respectively.
ELK MOUND (45) Heit 3-7-8-14, Doll 4-4-7-13, Bridges 3-2-2-8, Tarnow 1-2-2-4, H. Dicus 2-0-0-4
REGIS (32) L. Rorschieb 3-0-0-8, J. Burns 1-5-5-7, N. Stanke 3-0-0-6, V. Killian 3-0-0-6, B. Wampler 2-0-0-5
THREE POINTERS: Rorschieb 2, Heit 1, Doll 1, Wampler 1
After taking a 58-29 win over the Hilltoppers earlier in the season, this was a much improved Glenwood City team this go-around. It was another early lead that told the tale as the Mounders again came up with 17 first quarter points while holding the Toppers to eight. Tarnow had seven of those points and collected five of his team’s eight second quarter points, but when you are an undefeated team late in the season, teams like Glenwood City who certainly have their share of talented athletes, tend to pick up their game. That appeared to be the case as the Toppers came up with 15 points, cutting the Elk Mound lead to 25-23 at the half.
Doll helped to get the Mounders back on track with eight third quarter points while Tarnow nailed a trey and Austin Hanson hit a bucket to go with a Bridges’ free toss and they had some breathing room, holding a 39-32 lead after three quarters of play. By outscoring the Toppers 17-12 in the final eight minutes with six of those points coming from the foul line, the Mounders finished the game off for their 15th straight win.
“We played a decent first quarter but after that we were lazy on defense, took poor shots and turned the ball over too much,” coach Hahn said. “I was disappointed with our mental focus and effort and I don’t think we deserved to win tonight. Dakota Tarnow continues to play at a high level for us and we wouldn’t have won the game without him tonight.”
Tarnow led the Mounders with a season high 15 points while Doll added 12. The team finished 13 for 19 at the free throw line while the Toppers were 3 for 3.
ELK MOUND (56) Tarnow 6-1-1-15, Doll 4-4-7-12, Bridges 2-5-7-9, Heit 3-0-0-7, Hanson 2-0-0-4, A. Gottschalk 1-2-2-4, Dicus 1-1-2-3, T. Nelson 1-0-0-2
GLENWOOD CITY (44) R. Ross 7-0-0-16, N. Nrdutt 4-0-0-10, J. Hierlmeier 2-3-3-7, M. Kadinger 3-0-0-6, T. Nueske 2-0-0-5