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Lady Mounders absorb first conference loss against Hilltoppers

ELK MOUND — It was a good news-bad news type of night for the Elk Mound girls after they played their only game of the week, a home contest against Glenwood City Jan. 21 which began the second round of conference games. The Mounders lost the game 48-44 for their first conference loss of the season which was the bad news. But the good news was they remain in first place at 7-1, a game ahead of three teams including Glenwood City, Colfax and Durand who are all 6-2.

After beating the Hilltoppers 58-47 back in early December, it was plain to see this was a much improved team from the beginning of the season. Both teams employed full court, high pressuring defenses for most of the game, resulting in plenty of turnovers on both sides. After Mounders’ McKenna McVey and Allie Weber both scored from under the hoop for a 4-0 lead, the Toppers responded with a trey before McVey hit again from close range. Glenwood City’s post player Rachel Klatt, a senior who missed a year and a half of basketball due to a knee injury, began to dominate in the paint by scoring from underneath to cut the Mounder lead to 6-5. It took almost three minutes before anymore points came about and those were from Klatt again after the Mounders came up empty on eight possessions. With the Toppers up 7-6, Morgan Radtke scored in the paint but the Elk Mound lead didn’t last long after Klatt hit from close range. A Mounder turnover resulted in a fast break layup for the Toppers as they went ahead 11-8 but Radtke responded with another bucket and McVey knotted it up with a free throw. Elk Mound committed their seventh team foul with just under five minutes left in the half resulting in a Topper free throw and that was matched by one from Mounder Elizabeth Fasbender to make it 12-12.  Missed opportunities in the shooting department by Elk Mound and strong rebounding by the Toppers allowed Glenwood to go on an eight point run, leaving the Mounders behind 20-12. But in the blink of an eye, the Mounders trimmed the  deficit to three when Fasbender drained a trey and came back to score on a drive through the lane and the half ended with Elk Mound down 20-17.

Fasbender opened the second half by attacking the lane and scoring, then both teams sent up air balls on three point attempts. Elk Mound came up with  three consecutive steals, the third one by Sarah Winchester who drove down court and was fouled. Winchester hit one of two free throws to knot things up at 20-20 with a minute left then Klatt put the Toppers back up with her own free toss. Radtke took the lead back by rebounding her own missed shot but again, the Toppers responded with a pair of free throws. Glenwood went ahead 26-22 on a fast break layup and a free throw and Kami King came up with her own take away and layup to get the Mounders within two points. But foul trouble plagued the Mounders once again as they committed their seventh team foul with 11:47 left in the contest.

Winchester came up big however with a long three pointer for a 27-26 Elk Mound advantage which again didn’t last long after a couple of Topper free tosses found the mark. But the Mounders found a spark after King drained a shot from downtown then Radtke hit from close range twice for a 34-28 advantage with around nine minutes left. A McVey free throw and a put back by Fasbender upped the lead to 36-28 and it appeared the Mounders had finally found their groove. (Even the Channel 13 camera man was ready to pack things up and head back to the station to report on a Mounder win). But Klatt connected for a couple of free throws, then swiped the ball away which set up Morgan Kadinger for a trey. Klatt then scored in the paint and the Mounders lead was just a point with seven minutes to go.

“We knew Klatt was going to be tough under the boards and we didn’t deal with that very well,” Mounder coach Jordan Kongshaug said. “We had a nice lead and needed to put them away but we couldn’t do it.”

With the Toppers pulling back on their press, Kongshaug elected to slow things down and look for a good shot while maybe tiring the Toppers out. The plan worked pretty well as after a minute of passing, Weber canned a triple from the top of the circle to give the Mounders some breathing room with a four point lead. But Glenwood responded again, mostly Klatt who scored twice in the lane and it was 39-39 with five minutes left. After holding onto the ball for another minute, this time it was Winchester who found nothing but net from downtown to put the Mounders back up 42-39. The Toppers had six team fouls at this point and the Mounders were trying to draw that seventh one to get to the free throw line which they managed to do, but a missed free throw put the ball back in the Toppers hands. Jenesa Klinger banked in a deuce for Glenwood before McVey hit two free throws for a 44-41 Mounder lead with just over a minute left. Topper coach Justin Kuehndorf then called a time out to settle his girls down and plan some strategy. After his player went to the foul line and hit the first one, she missed the second one but the Mounders forgot to block out Klatt who pulled down the rebound and sent it back up for a 44-44 score. After the Mounders missed a shot on their next possession, a fast break layup gave Glenwood a two point lead. Then a couple of missed free throws by the Mounders with three seconds left, one on purpose in hopes of getting the rebound, resulted in Klatt hitting two more of her own to finish the game off.

“We were outplayed by Glenwood tonight,” Kongshaug said. “They are a solid team and they wanted it more. We had a lot of silly fouls and made poor decisions with the ball and they took advantage of it,” he added.

Fasbender led the Mounders with nine points and her team was 7 for 15 from the charity stripe. Klatt scored 19 points for the Toppers who were 13 of 20 from the line.

GLENWOOD CITY (48) Klatt 8-3-4-19, G. Peterson 3-2-2-10, Klinger 3-0-0-6, M. Kadinger 2-0-1-5, M. Petersen 0-5-9-5, M. Voeltz 0-2-2-2, B. Moll 0-1-2-1

ELK MOUND (44) Fasbender 3-2-4-9, McVey 2-4-8-8, Radtke 4-0-0-8, Weber 3-1-2-7, Winchester 2-1-2-7, King 2-0-0-5

THREE POINTERS: Winchester 2, G. Peterson 2, Weber 1, Fasbender 1, King 1, Kadinger 1