The Elk Mound boys started their season off on the basketball court with a 54-32 loss at Fall Creek Dec. 1, then went on the road and came from behind to beat Elmwood-Plum City 50-49 Dec. 4.
Both teams were coming off pretty successful seasons with the Mounders ending up at the state tournament and the Crickets finishing at 17-7. The difference is Elk Mound lost all their starters from last year while the Crickets have several of theirs back. Putting points up against Fall Creek seemed to be a problem for the Mounders as only three players scored for them with Justin Erpenbach dropping in 62% of the points on a 20 point performance night with half of those coming from the foul line. Brandon Bohl added 10 with a pair of triples while going four for four at the free throw line and Colin Svee had a lone deuce as Elk Mound was held to single digits all four quarters. After trailing 28-18 at the half, the Mounders were outscored 11-6 in the third quarter with Erpenbach putting in all six points and the Crickets continued to pull away for the win.
“We played a pretty decent team and I thought we played OK throughout the first half,” Elk Mound coach Chris Hahn said. “We talked about taking care of the ball and controlling the defensive glass leading up to the game and we struggled in both areas. Fall Creek’s length altered a lot of our shots and we didn’t handle the ball well enough against their pressure to ever get comfortable on offense.”
FALL CREEK (54) M. Anderson 7-1-1-16, B. Walbeck 6-0-0-15, B. Meyer 3-0-0-8, D. Kinsella 2-0-0-6, C. Folkers 2-0-0-4, S. Rubeck 1-0-0-2, J. Olson 1-0-0-2, C. Schulz 0-1-2-1
ELK MOUND (32) Erpenbach 4-10-12-20, Bohl 2-4-4-10, Svee 1-0-0-2
THREE POINTERS: Walbeck 3, Bohl 2, Erpenbach 2, Kinsella 2, Meyer 2, Anderson 1
The Mounders were more aggressive on the offensive side and were patient before taking perimeter shots, according to Hahn. The result was three different players combining for 11 made shots from behind the arc including five by Bohl. Eight of those triples came in the first half to help them build a 29-23 lead.
But things sure cooled down fast as the Mounders scored just two points in the third quarter on a deuce by Alex Hollister while E-PC poured in 18 of their own and Elk Mound was in the hole 41-31 heading into the last quarter. In fact, they were still behind by 10 with just over four minutes left in the game before Bohl drained a trey, then took a charge on the defensive end. Bohl canned two more long balls and the Mounders finished things off at the foul line as Bohl and Zurbuchen both hit a pair of freebies and Erpenbach went 4 for 8 to seal the win.
“The boys did a great job staying focused while doing their job and trusting their teammates,” Hahn said. “We cleaned up some of the things that caused us problems against Fall Creek and had only eight turnovers in the game,” he added.
Bohl was high scorer for the Mounders with 17 points while Erpenbach came up with 12 and Zurbuchen 10.
ELK MOUND (50) Bohl 5-2-2-17, Erpenbach 3-5-10-12, Zurbuchen 3-2-2-10, Tyman 3-0-0-9, Hollister 1-0-0-2
ELMWOOD-PLUM CITY (49) L. Wolf8-0-0-17, A. Boyer 2-1-3-6, N. Bechel 2-2-2-6, A. Coss 2-0-0-5, C. Longedorf 2-0-0-5, P. Fenter 2-0-0-5, N. Gilles 1-0-0-3, W. Schuttz 1-0-0-2
THREE POINTERS: Bohl 5, Tyman 3, Zurbuchen 2, Erpenbach 1, Wolf 1, Boyer 1, Gilles 1, Coss 1, Longedorf 1, Fenter 1