Mounders continue climb to State

ELK MOUND — The Elk Mound boys’ basketball team is headed back to Madison for the first time in two decades.

After a twenty year hiatus, the Mounders punched their ticket to the WIAA State Boys Basketball tournament with a resounding 48-37 win over the Prescott Cardinals Saturday afternoon, March 8 in the Division 3 Sectional Championship game at Eau Claire North High School. Elk Mound, which also bested La Crosse Aquinas 48-41 in Thursday’s sectional semifinal,  earned one of four spots in the Division 3 state field with Saturday’s victory.

This is Elk Mound’s first trip to the boys’ state basketball championships since 1994 and its third overall. The Mounders finished as state runners-up in both of their previous appearances, taking second in Class C in 1987 and again in 1994 as a Division 3 competitor. Both of those squads were coach by Dan Pedersen and Jack Curtis.

This year, Elk Mound once again dominated the Dunn-St. Croix conference and capped another perfect conference schedule (16-0) with a second straight league title.

“I am so happy for our players and community. This is an incredible group of young men and if anyone ever deserved to play at the Kohl Center, it is them,” Chris Hahn, Elk Mound head coach said after the sectional win.

“They have put in more time than many people realize and to be a part of their journey has been great,” continued Hahn.

“Their childhood dreams have come true,” Hahn added. “Now we shift our goals to winning a semi-final game.”

Elk Mound (25-1) will play last year’s state runner-up Lodi, also 25-1,  in the second Division 3 semifinal at approximately 10:45 a.m. this Friday, March 14 at the Kohl Center in Madison. Roncalli (25-1) will face Brown Deer (21-5) in the first Division 3 semifinal which will be played at 9:05 a.m. The winners will play for the Division 3 state championship at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, March 15.

Lodi shared the north division title of the Capitol Conference with Poynette as each won its home game against the other to finish with identical 9-1 conference records. The Blue Devils won a thrilling 42-41 game over Marshall in the D3 Middleton Sectional Championship to qualify for its third straight state tournament.

The Roncalli Jets defeated Little Chute, whom Elk Mound beat by six points back on December 28 in Green Bay, to win the Menasha Sectional final by a score to 65-50. Roncalli has made four previous state appearances, losing each time in the semifinals. Brown Deer will be making only its second trip to state after knocking off Ripon 63-53 in the Whitefish Bay Sectional championship.

State games in all five divisions are hosted in the University of Wisconsin’s Kohl Center, located at 601 W. Dayton Street in Madison.

The Mounders roster features eight seniors including leading scorers Zac Doll with 384 points (14.8 point per game) and Dexter Curry with 379 points (14.6 ppg). Doll, a guard, also lead the team in free throw makes and attempts (59 for 101) as well as three points made and taken (39 for 104) and assists with 106. Curry, the Mounders big 6’ 7” center, has a team-high 242 rebounds, 157 more than Doll and Logan Strom, who have 85 each. In addition, Curry has registered 42 blocks over his 26 games this season.

Travis Nelson has added 31 three-point shots and Hunter Kohls 22. Nelson also has 72 assists while Kohls and Strom have 58 and 52 respectively.

The Mounders’ roster includes: Dan Lew, Adam Gottschaulk, Alex Hollister, Zac Doll, Ben Holzwarth, Hunter Kohls, Travis Nelson, Noah Zurbuchen, Austin Hanson, Logan Strom, Colin Svee, Brandon Bohl, Cole Tyman, Justin Erpenbach, and Dexter Curry.

Head coach Chris Hahn is assisted by David Lew, Tim Heit, Dennis Arneson, and Jon Linzmeier.

There will be a pep rally and state send off for the team today (Wednesday, March 12) at 1:00 pm in the Elk Mound High School gymnasium. The public is invited.

Student buses will be available. For more information, contact the school office at 715-879-5521.

Tickets can be purchased online through the WIAA website: www.wiaawi.org or at the Kohl Center. Ticket prices for the tourney are $10 per session for all seating purchased at the Kohl Center. Ticket windows are available one hour prior to the start of any session. Online tickets are available online for $12. All online tickets are print-at-home or available at the Will-Call window.

If you can not make the state tournament, it will be televised live locally on WXOW-TV channel 19 in La Crosse and WQOW-TV channel 18 in Eau Claire. The championships will also be streamed on the statewide network station websites.