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Mounder girls start season on sour note with loss to Buffaloes

ELK MOUND — After falling behind early, the Elk Mound girls’ basketball team made it a close game for awhile before dropping the contest against the Mondovi Buffaloes 45-37 on the Mounder’s home court Nov. 26. It was the first game and conference opener for both teams.

Mondovi is expected by several area coaches to contend for a conference title this season and they showed how they were going to go about it when the much shorter but very scrappy team used a full court press from start to finish, making sure the Mounders earned every one of their points. Elk Mound was down 8-0 as a result of five turnovers and missing their first shot before Danae Sternecker put them on the board with a short jumper. The deficit increased to 11-2 before they went on an eight point run starting with a triple and a deuce from freshman Elizabeth Fasbender, a free throw from McKenna McVey coming from a Jamie Solem steal and another bucket from Sternecker to bring the score to 11-10. Casey Kent canned a trey for Mondovi and the quarter ended with Elk Mound down 14-10.

Sternecker opened the second quarter with another shot off an offensive rebound and after another Buffalo triple, Solem countered with her own. Both teams were showing opening game jitters as they traded turnovers several times, going for over three minutes without any points going up. The Buffs pulled ahead 19-15 but Fasbender, who appears to have an eye from long range, banked one in from three point land to get the Mounders within one again. But they just couldn’t get over the hump and Mondovi scored six straight points before Sternecker scored on another put back. After forcing the Buffaloes into a turnover, the Mounders missed a pair of bunnies from underneath and the half ended with them behind 24-20.

“We knew they were going to press us most of the game,” Mounder coach Jordan Kongshaug said. “We prepared for it and after we settled down, we were able to get some shots off.”

Sarah Winchester started the third quarter off with a slick steal and after missing the layup, grabbed her own rebound and put the ball in the hoop to get Elk Mound to within two again. But opportunities were lost again as they failed to finish off three open shots in the paint along with three missed free throws and Mondovi pulled out to a 33-23 lead. Fasbender broke the run with her third trey of the game and Anna Sessions made her way into the scoring column with a fast break bucket. Solem knocked down one of two free tosses and the Mounders were back in business as they entered the final eight minutes behind just 33-29.

15 seconds later they cut the lead to two with a McVey shot from close range, and the teams traded buckets as McVey scored from under again. From there on out, both teams saw action from the foul line and the Buffs won the battle as they canned 10 of 12 attempts while the Mounders were one for three. Mattie Pitts ended the scoring for Elk Mound with a triple with 23 seconds left to cut the deficit to 43-37 but Emily Stoughten dropped in two freebies to seal the win for Mondovi.

“We have a lot of young players in different roles this year,” Kongshaug said. “We never really got comfortable on offense but we were right there a couple of times, down by a point or two. We couldn’t convert on some baskets and we made some bad decisions with the ball, but that will get better as we play more,” he added.

Fasbender led the Mounders with 12 points and Sternecker added eight. Mondovi shot a phenomenal 85% from the free throw line, hitting 17 of 20 while the Mounders were four of 13. Elk Mound plays at Eleva-Strum Dec. 2 then returns to conference play at home Dec. 5 against Spring Valley.

MONDOVI (45) S. Kopp 5-0-0-11, M. Lund 2-6-6-10, J. Franzwa 2-4-4-9, E. Stoughten 0-5-6-5, J. Harris 1-1-2-4,  Kent 1-1-2-4, O. Weiss 1-0-0-2

ELK MOUND (37) Fasbender 4-1-2-12, Sternecker 4-0-1-8, McVey 2-2-8-6, Solem 1-1-1-4, Pitts 1-0-0-3, Sessions 1-0-1-2, Winchester 1-0-0-2

Three Pointers: Fasbender 3, Sessions 1, Pitts 1, Harris 1, Franzwa 1, Kent 1, Kopp 1