Scheduling a couple of games outside the conference against some pretty good teams late in the season proved to be beneficial for the Elk Mound boys with the WIAA tournament beginning Feb. 25. The Mounders showed their dominance in the area by blasting the Bloomer Blackhawks at home 63-29 in a Monday night game Feb. 10, then stayed on their home court to host Fall Creek Feb. 13. The results were pretty much the same as they crushed the Crickets 68-32.
The large crowd that showed up was probably expecting a close game between two conference leading teams. Bloomer was 9-1 in the Heart O’ North and were 13-3 overall while Elk Mound, as we all know are undefeated in the Dunn-St. Croix. As it turned out, it wasn’t even a contest as the Mounders scored at will all night from inside, outside and everywhere in between, then used their swarming defense to shut every one of the Blackhawk shooters down. Dexter Curry hit from underneath for the first two baskets of the game. Hunter Kohls added a trey from the corner, Travis Nelson scored on a short jumper, Zac Doll came up with a steal and a lay up, Curry added a put back and Nelson came up with his own steal and lay up. Meanwhile, Bloomer turned the ball over five times and when they did manage to get a shot off they missed four different times as Elk Mound held a 15-4 lead.
After Logan Strom scored in the paint for a 19-9 Mounder lead midway through the second stanza, Elk Mound tacked on more points with a nine point run starting on another Doll steal, lay up and free throw, his fast break lay up coming off a long pass from Curry, a Curry bucket assisted by Nelson and Nelson’s jumper in the lane and Elk Mound led at the break 28-11.
If Bloomer had any hopes of getting back into the game, those hopes were squelched rather quickly after Elk Mound came up with eight straight points to start the third quarter. Everything was going in for them as Doll hit back to back lay ups, Curry did a spin and jump move for two and Strom connected on a long two before Bloomer broke the run with a couple of free throws. As it turned out, those were the only points of the quarter for them, and with Nelson scoring while falling down and Curry still going right over the Blackhawk defenders for three more buckets and another Kohls trey, it was pretty much all over as Elk Mound led 48-13.
Bloomer finally found some offense as they came up with 16 points in the final quarter, but Doll hit a bucket and Curry added three more points to close out their night. Dane Lew went on a tear as he scored 10 straight points for Elk Mound on three deuces and 4 of 6 free throws and Ben Holzwarth and Adam Gottschalk mercifully ended the game with a free throw each.
“I thought we played great defensively tonight,” Elk Mound coach Chris Hahn said. “We moved well, didn’t gamble, and helped each other when break downs occurred. It was a great effort against a conference leading team and we were excited to play them before playoffs.”
Curry finished the night with a double-double including 21 points and 11 rebounds. Seven other Mounder players added points with Doll coming up with 11 and Lew a career high 10. Bloomer’s leading scorer for the night was Logan Faschingbauer with six points. Elk Mound was 9 for 19 at the foul stripe and Bloomer was 9 for 14.
ELK MOUND (63) Curry 10-1-3-21, Doll 5-1-4-11, Lew 3-4-5-10, Nelson 4-0-1-8, Kohls 2-1-2-7, Strom 2-0-0-4, Gottschalk 0-1-2-1, Holzwarth 0-1-2-1
BLOOMER (29) L. Faschingbauer 1-4-6-6, D. Dezern 2-0-0-5, C. Seibel 2-0-4-5, M. Salm 1-1-2-4, T. Burgess 1-0-0-3, C. Faschingbauer 0-2-2-2, N. Zemon 0-2-4-2, K. Reishel 1-0-0-2
THREE POINTERS: Kohls 2, Burgess 1, Dezern 1, Seibel 1, Salm 1
The Cricket fans must have thought they were watching a continuous replay as they saw Nelson knock down not one, not two, not three, not four, but five triples in the first quarter. Two Kohls deuces and six points by Curry had the Mounders jumping out to an early lead yet again at 25-9. Fall Creek entered the Mounders’ gym in a tie for the lead in the always tough Western Cloverbelt Conference and were 13-5 overall, but were no match for Elk Mound on this Senior Night. Four Mounders all tallied four points in the second stanza including Doll, Kohls, Nelson and Curry while the stifling 1-3-1- zone defense held the Crickets to four points as they built a 41-13 halftime lead.
Curry went on his own roll with six shots from the paint in the third stanza to lead the team to a 62-24 lead at the end of three. Curry, Lew and Kohls tacked on two points each in the final quarter while the defense held the Crickets to single digits again with eight to put the game away.
“We had incredible energy on both sides of the ball tonight,” Hahn said. “Nelson hitting those three’s in the first quarter got us off to a great start and we didn’t have any let downs from there. Doll caused so many problems on defense and also had a lot of great passes to open teammates. And Curry, Strom, Kohls and Gottschalk also played extremely well for us. We got two great non-conference wins this week against neighboring conference leaders,” he added.
66 of the 68 Mounders’ points came from seniors as Curry led the way with 24 while Nelson added 19 and Kohls 14. The Mounders were 4 for 8 at the charity stripe and Fall Creek was 0 for 1. Elk Mound returns to conference play at Colfax Feb. 18 and ends the regular season at Boyceville Feb. 21. They have already clinched at least a share of the conference championship and can win it outright with a win in either game.
ELK MOUND (68) Curry (11-2-3-24, Nelson 7-0-0-19, Kohls 7-0-1-15, Doll 3-0-2-6, Lew 0-2-2-2, Strom 1-0-0-2
FALL CREEK (32) D. Hopkins 4-0-1-8, M. Anderson 3-0-0-7, B. Walbeck 3-0-0-7, I. McInnis 1-0-0-3, A. Walloch 1-0-0-3, T. Steinke 1-0-0-2
THREE POINTERS: Nelson 5, Kohls 1, McInnis 1, Anderson 1, Walloch 1, Walbeck 1