By Cara L. Dempski
There is only so much a team can do in practice.
Sometimes, athletes just need a good competition to really test their mettle.
At least, that is how Elk Mound’s head boys’ basketball coach Mike Kessler treated the Mounders’ road trip to Fall Creek November 28. He said he was happy to get some of his players some “real” experience on the Mounders’ way to a 55-48 win over the Crickets to open the season.
Elk Mound then tested its game skills at home November 30 against Black River Falls. Things looked a little different, and the Mounders struggled to mount an offense, eventually succumbing to the Tigers in an 80-54 loss.
The Mounder boys faced Eau Claire Regis at home Monday, December 4 before opening the Dunn-St. Croix season with a December 7 trip to Durand. They will play Bloomer this Saturday, December 9 in the Northwest Tipoff Classic hosted by UW-Stout. Elk Mound will then host Boyceville next Tuesday, December 12.
The Elk Mound team currently has a 1-1 record.
There are many instances where laying a solid foundation of groundwork can help an individual or group in the long run.
Doctors and nurses take care of medical charting when they have free time because no one can predict when they will have another chance to get everything written down. Coaches tend to load their early-season games with tough competition to steel teams against harder games down the road.
Athletes push to score as much as possible early to provide some cushion and stability for any threats from the opposition later in the contest.
All of this is to explain that it seems natural that Elk Mound carried a nine-point lead into halftime at Fall Creek last Tuesday, were outscored 31-29 in the second half, and yet still won the game 55-48.
Mounder senior Ben Lambele was the high-scoring player of the night on the Crickets’ home court, logging 17 points spread out over six field goals and five charity throws. Dylan Curry, Dylan Black and Jake Mentzel all reeled in seven points, Logan Bergh and Marcus Kinblom scored five apiece, Brandon Redwine and Brett Lew each dropped in three, and Nathaniel Schreiber recorded two for the Mounders.
The Crickets’ highest-scoring player was David Anderson, who picked up 14 on four field goals and six free throws.
ELK MOUND 55, FALL CREEK 48
Elk Mound………………………..26 29 — 55
Fall Creek…………………………17 31 — 48
TEAM STATISTICS (FG-FT-F-T)
Elk Mound (17-19-19-55) — B. Redwine 1-1-1-3, D. Curry 2-3-2-7, B. Lambele 6-5-3-17, D. Black 1-4-2-7, B. Lew 0-3-0-3, L. Bergh 2-1-0-5, C. Ward 0-0-2-0, J. Mentzel 2-1-2-6, N. Schreiber 1-0-1-2, M. Kinblom 2-1-3-5, C. Mavis 0-0-3-0.
Fall Creek (16-16-26-48) — J. Pritzl 0-2-4-2, L. Dallas 3-4-4-10, J. Kinderman 3-1-5-8, D. Schulz 2-0-3-5, D. Anderson 4-6-3-14, T. Anders 1-0-3-2, J. Burghardt 0-1-2-1, D. Marten 1-0-0-2, B. Nicks 2-0-1-2, M. Cline 0-2-1-2.
EM — D. Black 1, J. Mentzel 1; FC — J. Kinderman 1, D. Schulz 1.
Black River Falls
It was hard watching the Elk Mound boys’ basketball team go into the locker room Thursday evening, November 30 after being blasted 80-54 by Black River Falls.
Even after most of them had changed out of their game gear to head home, you could see the frustration and disappointment. It was apparent to everyone, including head coach Mike Kessler.
“You can see it on their faces, that they’re not happy about what just happened,” Kessler said in his after-game comments. “We’re (the EM coaching staff) hoping that they have the ability to respond in a positive way. To get to work and fix some things we need to fix, understanding it’s a long year, and our goal is to be playing our best basketball in February and March.”
It was a tough game to watch almost from the tipoff, when sloppy ball handling on both sides led to multiple turnovers. It seemed the game would likely belong to whichever team recovered from the mishaps first.
Unfortunately for Elk Mound, the Tigers found their groove early on, and went on a six-point run before junior Marcus Kinblom put the home team on the board with two off the glass.
Black River Falls continued to limit the Mounders’ scoring opportunities while forcing turnovers to carry a 46-27 advantage to the locker room at halftime.
The Mounders found a little more offensive fire in the second half, tacking up another 27 points, but could not catch the Tigers, who added another 34 points to the board by the time the clock ran out.
Senior Ben Lambele again led the Mounder effort with 14 points, while Brandon Redwine and Marcus Kinblom each tacked up eight in the game. Dylan Black put in three field goals for six points, Dylan Curry recorded five points, Logan Bergh put up four, Blake Rosenthal hit an outside shot for three, and Brett Lew, Nathaniel Schreiber and Conner Mavis each scored two points.
Tiger senior Ethan Anderson reeled in the game’s highest score with 25 points.
BLACK RIVER FALLS 80, ELK MOUND 54
Black River Falls………………..46 34 — 80
Elk Mound………………………..27 27 — 54
TEAM STATISTICS (FG-FT-F-T)
Black River Falls (27-0-1-80) — I. Cowles 4-5-2-14, B. Nicholas 2-0-0-4, E. Anderson 10-2-4-25, E. Bird 1-6-0-9, G. Littlewolf 0-1-0-1, N. Becker 0-2-2-2, J. Woods 3-0-3-6, J. Wirtz 0-1-1-1, J. Ekern 1-0-2-2, B. Seiber 5-2-3-12, M. Iverson 1-1-0-4.
Elk Mound (21-10-23-54) — B. Rosenthal 1-0-3-3, B. Redwine 4-0-2-8, D. Curry 2-0-5-5, B. Lambele 5-4-2-14, D. Black 3-0-2-6, B. Lew 0-2-1-2, L. Bergh 1-2-2-4, N. Schreiber 0-2-3-2, M. Kinblom 4-0-2-8, C. Mavis 1-0-1-2.
BRF — I. Cowles 1, E. Anderson 3, E. Bird 1, M. Iverson 1; EM — B. Rosenthal 1, D. Curry 1.