After splitting a pair of conference games against the Boyceville Bulldogs this year, the Elk Mound girls stayed home and won the rubber game in the second round of regional play 53-41 March 1. Their chance to win a regional crown came to an abrupt halt however with a 63-41 loss to state ranked Cameron just a day later on the Comets’ home court.
The first quarter told the tale as the Mounders jumped all over the Bulldogs for a 19-8 lead. It was a good thing too because the teams played even in the second and third quarters and Elk Mound only outscored Boyceville by a scant point in the fourth.
After the Bulldogs opened the game with two straight baskets, Elk Mound knotted things up with deuces by Kaysi Meindel and Jamie Solem. Meindel broke the tie with a triple and Jamie Solem and Sarah Winchester both connected from long range themselves for a 13-4 lead. Meindel had the hot hand as she dropped in her second trey of the quarter and after Josie Hayes scored on a fast break layup, Meindel finished off the first quarter scoring with a free toss.
Elk Mound continued to find the bottom of the net, going on a 6-1 run in the first 90 seconds of the second stanza to build their lead to 25-9 with Hayes, Meindel and McKenna McVey all scoring from close range But the well went dry for more than six minutes and they came up with just a single free throw by Hayes with three seconds left in the half while the Bulldogs came up with six points, four by senior Kysa Franseen, and the Mounders lead was down to 11 at 26-15.
After a quick bucket by the Bulldogs to start the third quarter, the Hayes sisters hit back to back shots as Emma cut through the lane for a deuce, and Josie scored on a turn-around jumper for a 30-17 lead. Franseen hit another shot, then stole the ball and was fouled by Josie Hayes, which happened to be her fourth foul with 4:57 left in the quarter and put her on the bench. Franseen dropped in both free tosses and the Mounders lead was cut to single digits at 30-21. Back to back turnovers by Elk Mound allowed Boyceville to score two more baskets, one by Franseen and another by Katelyn Merten, and just like that Elk Mound was holding on to just a five point lead with 3:46 left in the quarter. McVey finally broke the Bulldogs eight point run with a shot from the paint, then added two more buckets to go with a pair of Solem free throws to build the Mounders lead back up to 38-27. Franseen and Emma Hayes traded baskets and the Elk Mound lead stayed at 11 points, 40-29 entering the final quarter.
Meindel picked up her fourth foul with 6:07 left in the game and coach Jordan Kongshaug took her out for a short time, then rolled the dice and let her play the rest of the game with those fouls. Josie Hayes came back in the game around the 4:00 mark of the quarter and the Mounders pretty much finished the game off from the charity stripe. Meindel, McVey and Winchester all went 1 for 2 and Emma Hayes sank two for a 48-35 advantage. Winchester drained a trey and Josie Hayes ended the Mounders scoring with 2 of 2 free tosses.
“We did a nice job with our defensive pressure to jump out early,” Kongshaug said. “Our kids kept their composure after Boyceville made a run at us and it was a big win for us,” he added.
Along with their defense, keeping Boyceville’s leading scorer Abbey Bird from hitting her 12 point average was another key for the Mounders as they held her to just six points. Meanwhile, Elk Mound used balanced scoring with Meindel and McVey both dropping in 12 points to lead the team while Josie Hayes added nine.
ELK MOUND (53) Meindel 4-2-5-12, McVey 4-4-6-12, J. Hayes 3-3-4-9, Solem 2-2-2-7, Winchester 2-1-2-7, E. Hayes 2-2-2-6
BOYCEVILLE (41) Franseen 7-3-4-15, A. Lake 4-2-4-10, Bird 2-2-5-6, B. Blaser 1-2-4-4, Merten 2-0-0-4
THREE POINTERS: Winchester 2, Meindel 2, Solem 1
The first quarter told the tale again, but this time the points were not in the Mounders favor. The Comets blazed to a 19-6 lead in the first eight minutes, but Elk Mound seemed to settle down and played their game as they battled to match the Comets 16 points in the second stanza. Josie Hayes and Meindel combined for 20 of the Mounders 22 first half points as they went into the intermission down 35-22.
Josie Hayes showed why she led the Dunn-St. Croix Conference in scoring as she kept her team in the game with eight third quarter points, but the Mounder’s deficit increased by 16 with the score 48-32 after three quarters. Cameron’s fast paced offense continued to score while Hayes did her best to keep her team in the game with five more points and Emma Hayes hit a bucket along with Anna Sessions, but the Comets lead was too much to overcome, thus ending Elk Mound’s season with a 17-7 record. Josie Hayes ended a stellar career with 24 points to lead the Mounders and fellow seniors Meindel added nine and Emma Hayes two. Only four players scored for the Comets but they were all in double figures with Chloe Wanink leading the way with 24 points.
“We dug a hole for ourselves early that we couldn’t climb out of,” Kongshaug said. “Cameron is the most skilled and athletic team we have played all season. They shot extremely well and I give them all the credit in the world. I am extremely proud of our kids. Advancing to the regional final was a big step for our program. I appreciate the leadership of our three seniors. They will be missed,” he concluded.
CAMERON (65) C. Wanink 10-2-2-24, A. Beyer 7-0-0-14, M. Otto 6-1-1-14, H. Bailey 6-1-1-13
ELK MOUND (41) J. Hayes 10-4-8-24, Meindel 4-0-0-9, McVey 2-0-0-4, Sessions 1-0-0-2, E. Hayes 1-0-0-2
THREE POINTERS: Wanink 2, Meindel 1, Otto 1