Looking for some different competition at the Division 3 level, the Elk Mound boys’ basketball team made the trek across the state to play a couple of teams out of the Eastern Valley Conference Dec. 27-28. The Mounders, with an enrollment of 328 were moved up to D3 this year and faced off against the Freedom Irish who have an enrollment of 525 students and lost 63-55, then came back to beat the Little Chute Mustangs (enrollment 518) 44-38, with both games being played at the Cress Center on the UW-Green Bay campus.
The Mounders shot just 38% from the field in the game which was their lowest percentage of the year according to coach Chris Hahn. Although Zac Doll connected on 5 of 10 three pointers for the game, the team as a whole hit just 7 of 23 from long range and 14 of 36 close up. Elk Mound held a 31-23 advantage at the intermission but foul trouble on their part put the Irish on the charity stripe for 19 attempts the second half and they hit 15 of the freebies while Elk Mound went 4 for 9.
“We played a solid first half,” Hahn said after his team’s first loss of the season. “I was happy with our defensive energy and and we were able to get decent ball movement on offense while turning the ball over just five times. But Freedom kept coming after us and we had a number of defensive breakdowns the second half and allowed them some easy looks at the rim and they converted their shots. Doll played a great floor game for us and made a lot of big plays that kept us in the game.”
Doll finished with 23 points, eight rebounds and three assists while Dexter Curry added 14 points and nine rebounds.
M. Waters A. Connelly 3-6-8-15, J. Green 4-3-4-12, L. Maulick 3-0-2-8, C. Hofacker 2-3-4-7, J. Gonnoring 1-1-1-3, B. Scrommer 1-0-0-2
ELK MOUND (55)
Doll 7-4-6-23, Curry 7-0-1-14, H. Kohls 2-0-0-5, L. Strom 1-2-2-5, T. Nelson 2-0-1-4, A. Gottschalk 1-0-0-2, A. Hanson 1-0-0-2
Doll 5, Connelly 3, Maulick 2, Kohls 1, Strom 1, Green 1
Despite scoring their lowest point total of the season, the Mounders came away with a win by playing their best defensive game of the season, forcing 14 turnovers on the Mustangs.They jumped out to a 10-1 lead after a quarter of play on a triple each from Dane Lew and Doll and a deuce apiece by Curry and Hunter Kohls, then were outscored the second quarter but still took a 24-18 halftime lead.
Both teams dumped in 20 points in the second half with Curry scoring eight of them on four shots from close range and Logan Strom adding seven points on a bucket and 5 of 7 free throws for the Mounders. And despite four- three point shots by the Mustangs, they had a big enough cushion to finish off the win. As a team, they knocked down just 42% of their free throw attempts, going 8 for 19 while the Mustangs were 2 of 6. Curry finished with 14 points and five boards while Travis Nelson collected nine points and snared a team leading six rebounds.
“I was curious to see how we would bounce back from our first loss,” coach Hahn said. “Little Chute is a very good team and we played well on defense against them. We rebounded the ball well and forced them into some tough shots. Strom was incredible tonight and did all the little things that don’t show up in the boxscore. We would not have won this game without his effort. Curry was very patient and let the game come to him and Nelson played some huge minutes when Kohls got into foul trouble and we didn’t miss a beat,” he added.
The Mounders are now 8-1 overall and 5-0 in conference play. After a game at Fall Creek Jan. 6, they will return home to face Colfax Jan.10.
ELK MOUND (44)
Curry 7-0-2-14, Nelson 4-1-3-9, Doll 2-2-6-7, Strom 1-5-7-7, Lew 1-0-0-3, Kohls 1-0-1-2, A. Hanson 1-0-0-2
LITTLE CHUTE (38)
A. Gloudemans 6-0-0-17, D. DeValk 4-1-3-12, P. Gloudemans 2-1-3-5, B. Hammen 1-0-0-2, L. Verbruggen 1-0-0-2
A. Gloudemans 5, DeValk 3, Lew 1, Doll 1