In what was their only game scheduled for the week, the Elk Mound boys may have put themselves in the driver’s seat for another Dunn-St. Croix championship when they defeated the Mondovi Buffaloes 55-35 Jan. 30 on their home court. It was the second win this season over Mondovi who came into the game in second place, just one game back of Elk Mound. The Mounders stand at 12-0 in conference play with games against Spring Valley, Plum City, Colfax and Boyceville left, all teams they have defeated quite handily already this year.
Both Elk Mound and Mondovi are dominated by upperclassmen, indicated by the starting lineups which included all seniors. With that much experience on the court, and the Buffaloes riding an eight game winning streak, it had all the makings of a close game. But after falling behind 6-0 on a couple of Buffalo three pointers, the Mounders kept their cool and began to peck away at the short lived deficit as Zac Doll came up with 11 points which included three long triples in the first quarter to go with a pair of deuces from Dexter Curry, allowing them to take a 15-14 lead.
Elk Mound went up by four points three times on yet another Doll trey, a drive through the lane by Hunter Kohls and a put back by Curry, but the Buffaloes countered with points each time and cut the Mounder lead to 22-21 with another three point shot. From there on out, it was all Elk Mound as Adam Gottschalk scored off an in bounds pass, Doll assisted Kohls in the lane and Austin Hanson drained a triple, giving them a 29-21 halftime advantage.
“Zac Doll hit some huge threes for us that really helped carry us in the first half,” coach Chris Hahn said. “We trailed for the first time in a long time and I was curious to see how our team would respond. But our players didn’t let it phase them.”
That turned out to be an understatement as the Mounders played their 1-3-1- zone defense to perfection by using their long arms to contest just about every Buffalo shot attempt in the second half. Meanwhile, a hook shot from Curry, a runner in the lane by Doll and a steal by Travis Nelson and his subsequent lay up pushed the lead to 35-23. A Buffalo bucket cut the lead to 10 but a Kohls layup put the Mounders back in control and they continued to pull ahead, taking a 39-25 lead into the final quarter. Six straight Mounder points coming from a deuce by Kohls and a pair of free throws by both Nelson and Curry upped the lead to 20 at 45-25 and it was a coaster from there on out.
“We worked really hard on the defensive glass tonight and we did a great job of limiting their second chance opportunities,” Hahn said. “Hunter Kohls played really well on both ends of the court and Travis Nelson was great on defense. Mondovi focused on stopping Dexter Curry and he did a nice job inside even though he didn’t get a lot of shots off. But all of our other options were on display tonight,” he added.
Curry finished with a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds to go with Doll’s 18 points. Fouls were called very rarely as neither team was in the bonus all game but the Mounders hit 4 of 6 from the charity stripe while the Buffaloes were 4 for 4.
ELK MOUND (55) Doll 7-0-0-18, Curry 4-2-2-10, Kohls 4-0-0-8, Nelson 2-2-4-6, Gottschalk 2-0-0-4, Hanson 1-0-0-3, D. Lew 1-0-0-2, N. Zurbuchen 1-0-0-2, L. Strom 1-0-0-2
MONDOVI (35) E. Wolf 4-0-0-10, B. Vetterkind 3-0-0-6, J. Peterson 1-2-2-5, Q. Buchholz 1-2-2-4, M. Stamm 1-0-0-3, T. McLean 1-0-0-3, Z. Ganschow 1-0-0-2, E. Palmer 1-0-0-2
THREE POINTERS: Doll 4, Wolf 2, Hanson 1, Peterson 1, Stamm 1, McLean 1