By Cara L. Dempski
Going into last week, the Elk Mound boys’ had not lost a game since they dropped a non-conference contest at Prescott back on January 9.
The week’s game slated featured a pair of Bulldog Battles, with Elk Mound heading to Chetek-Weyerhaeuser on February 6, and hosting Boyceville on February 9.
The Mounders ran its win streak to eight straight after squeaking out a two-point win in Chetek and blowing out Boyceville by 29.
Elk Mound had a slow first half at Chetek, but the team picked up the pace in the second half to cop a 58-56 win.
Elk Mound then returned home for a conference match-up with the second pack of Bulldogs. The team in orange and black had an easier time against the Boyceville squad, winning the game 66-37.
The 14-4 team, who hosts four straight home games over the next two weeks to wrap up the regular season, currently holds down first place in the Dunn-St. Croix along with Spring Valley. Both squads have 10-1 conference records.
Coach Mike Kessler is hoping for a second win over Spring Valley in Elk Mound’s Valentine’s Day home contest. Friday, February 17 will be another home game when Elmwood/Plum City heads to the gym at Elk Mound High School.
The Mounders will host Altoona for a non-conference match next Monday, February 20 and will finish their Dunn-St. Croix and regular-season play on February 23 at home against Glenwood City.
Elk Mound’s Coach Kessler has seen the Mounders struggle to find their footing in the first half of more than one game in the 2016-17 season, but continues to be impressed by the team’s ability to close the deal in the second half.
The game at Chetek on February 6 was no exception.
“We looked sluggish to start the game, and the 2-3 zone that Chetek sat in made life difficult for us,” Kessler said. “We had trouble getting the ball inside in the first half.”
Even with the slow start, the Mounders still led by two points, 20-18, at the halftime break. Kessler said the Elk Mound squad played with better energy and effort in the second half of the game to grab the 58-56 win in a tough non-conference game on the road.
The Mounders were 17-23 with free throws and played a relatively clean game with only 16 fouls.
Ben Lambele reeled in 18 points against the first pack of Dogs he faced this week. He dropped in four field goals and 10 of 14 free throw attempts. Chandler Schreiber earned 16 points with eight field goals, and Dane Lew rounded out the double-digit individual scores with 13 points after sinking three field goals, a three-point shot, and four charity throws.
Carter Pritchard, Jameson Rubenzer, Dylan Black and Noah Zurbuchen took credit for three points each.
Chetek-Weyerhaeuser’s Darryl Williams earned the game’s highest individual score with 29 points after dropping in nine field goals, two three-point shots, and five free shots.
ELK MOUND 58, CHETEK-WEYERHAEUSER 56
Elk Mound……………………..20 38 — 58
Chetek-Weyerhaeuser………18 38 — 56
TEAM STATISTICS (FG-FT-F-T)
Elk Mound (15-17-16-58) D. Lew 3-4-3-13, C. Pritchard 0-0-4-3, J. Rubenzer 0-0-1-3, R. Mohr 0-0-1-0, B. Lambele 4-10-2-19, D. Black 0-0-1-3, N. Zurbuchen 0-3-2-3, C. Schreiber 8-0-2-16.
Chetek-Weyerhaeuser (16-12-15-56) D. Williams 9-5-4-29, T. Buse 2-0-1-4, J. Newell 0-2-0-2, H. Flore 2-3-2-10, A. Loy 0-2-3-2, A. Kaminski 2-0-0-4, K. Bilodeau 1-0-5-2.
THREE-POINTERS EM — D. Lew 1, C. Pritchard 1, J. Rubenzer 1, D. Black 1, C. Schreiber 2; CW — D. Williams 2, H. Flore 1, A. Kaminski 1.
It seems to be a common thing this season that the Elk Mound boys do not play as well in the first half as Coach Kessler would like. It also seems common that they pick up the pace in the second half.
The Mounders’ 66-37 home win over Boyceville on February 10 is just one example of that theme.
Elk Mound led by nine, 30-21, at halftime, but did a much better job of holding the Bulldogs in check in the second half, allowing the Boyceville team to score only 16 points while putting together another 36 of their own.
Dane Lew picked up the game’s highest score, reeling in 17 points. Chandler Schrieber and Noah Zurbuchen hit double digits with Schreiber nabbing 11 points and Zurbuchen shooting for 10. Dylan Black and Ryan Mohr earned seven points apiece. Sophomore Marcus Kinblom picked up four points to tied with Carter Pritchard and Ben Lambele. Jameson Rubenzer was good for two.
Boyceville’s highest individual score belonged to junior Luke Knudtson, who fired in five each of field goals and free throws for a total of 15 points.
BOYCEVILLE 37, ELK MOUND 66
Boyceville………………………21 16 — 37
Elk Mound…………………….30 36 — 66
TEAM STATISTICS (FG-FT-F-T)
Boyceville (14-6-8-37) B. Boda 4-1-4-9, C. Boesl 1-0-0-2, Lo. Knudtson 0-0-0-3, J. Gonzalez 2-0-1-4, B. Larson 2-0-0-4, Lu. Knudtson 5-5-3-15.
Elk Mound (20-8-11-66) D. Lew 5-1-1-17, C. Pritchard 2-0-2-4, J. Rubenzer 1-0-0-2, R. Mohr 2-0-2-7, B. Lambele 2-0-2-4, D. Black 1-2-0-7, N. Zurbuchen 5-0-2-10, C. Schreiber 1-3-0-11, M. Kinblom 1-2-0-4, C. Mavis 0-0-2-0.
THREE-POINTERS B — Lo. Knudtson 1; EM — D. Lew 2, R. Mohr 1, D. Black 1, C. Schreiber 2.