By Cara L. Dempski
The holiday break and last week brought a pair of road trips for the Elk Mound boys as coach Mike Kessler worked to ease them into the second part of the season.
The Mounders broke the monotony of the holiday break with a December 29 trip to face Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau and suffered a 76-44 smackdown at the hands of the Red Hawks to end 2017.
Elk Mound headed to Plum City High School January 5 for a meeting with the Elmwood/Plum City Wolves. Kessler said the team made a good all-around effort for the 65-47 win.
Kessler and his squad of orange and black are now 3-7 overall and 2-2 in the Dunn-St. Croix as they turn their collective attention to Spring Valley at Elk Mound January 11. The Mounders host Glenwood City January 16, and will travel to Mondovi January 19.
Do not let the final score fool you, Mike Kessler got what he wanted out of his team against the Red Hawks December 29, despite the 76-44 loss.
“Although the score got lopsided in the second half, I was very happy with the way our kids took on the challenge of playing one of the best teams in Division 3 basketball in the entire state,” he noted about the Mounders. “Truthfully, it was the first time all year that we competed hard, as an entire group, for an entire game.”
In short, it may have been a loss, but Kessler and his coaching staff have hope for redemption this season after the Elk Mound boys’ carried a lackluster 2-6 record into the game. Hope, perhaps, that the effort and pure grit the Mounders displayed against the fifth-ranked Red Hawks will last through the rest of the season.
With games against perennial conference strongmen Spring Valley, and emerging powerhouse Glenwood City, in the offing, the Mounders might be finding their game at just the right time.
Senior Ben Lambele resumed his leadership roll against the G-E-T squad, nabbing eight points for Elk Mound, while fellow upperclassmen Nathaniel Schreiber tacked up another seven. Jake Mentzel and Ryan Mohr each scored six points, Dylan Black was good for five, Blake Rosenthal and Brandon Redwine tied with four apiece, Brett Lew drained a three-pointer, and Logan Bergh hit one of two tries from the line.
The game’s highest-scoring player was Red Hawk Chris Thompson, who picked up 17 in the first half, but was limited to just eight in the second for a total of 25.
ELK MOUND 44, GALE-ETTRICK-TREMPEALEAU 76
Elk Mound………………………..22 22 — 44
Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau…..42 34 — 76
TEAM STATISTICS (FG-FT-F-T)
Elk Mound (15-9-21-44) — R. Mohr 3-0-2-6, B. Rosenthal 1-1-2-4, B. Redwine 2-0-2-4, D. Curry 0-0-2-0, B. Lambele 3-2-2-8, D. Black 2-0-1-5, B. Lew 1-0-0-3, L. Bergh 0-1-5-1, J. Mentzel 2-0-0-6, N. Schreiber 1-5-1-7, M. Kinblom 0-0-4-0.
Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau (23-21-21-76) — A. Pearson 1-1-2-4, B. Behan 2-1-3-5, B. Thompson 0-0-2-0, D. Kvistad 1-0-3-2, B. Thiesse 3-5-2-14, S. Schmitt 1-0-1-3, C. Thompson 9-6-0-25, K. Kriesel 2-0-2-4, J. Jumbeck 0-4-2-4, T. Scherr 3-4-3-13, C. Hanson 1-0-0-2, N. Riehle 0-0-1-0.
EM — B. Rosenthal 1, D. Black 1, B. Lew 1, J. Mentzel 3; GET — A. Pearson 1, B. Thiesse 3, S. Schmitt 1, C. Thompson 1, T. Scherr 3.
The Mounders have been slow to start this season, but Kessler may be starting to see just what his Elk Mound boys are capable of these past two weeks.
“I was pleased with the way our boys played on Friday,” he said the following week. “I thought that they executed our game plan incredibly well. I was most pleased with the way they shared the basketball with each other.”
Elk Mound led by 10 at halftime, and then added another 32 in the second half to best the Elmwood/Plum City Wolves 65-47 January 5 on the road. Kessler said it was a combination of excellent, patient playmaking and a stellar performance by senior Ben Lambele.
“Ben played a tremendous game for us on both ends of the floor, and his unselfishness was tremendous. Guys like Blake Rosenthal, Brandon Redwine and Dylan Black all provided us with energy,” Kessler explained. “I thought it was the best overall team performance that we have had all year.”
Lambele put up 27 points for Elk Mound, but was edged out as the top-scoring player by Wolves player Luke Baier, who reeled in 29 for Elmwood/Plum City.
Rosenthal scored eight points, Ryan Mohr was good for five, Dylan Curry, Jake Mentzel, Marcus Kinblom and Conner Mavis each put up four, Black and Brett Lew tied with three each, Nathaniel Schreiber scored two, and Colton Ward dropped in a single free throw.
ELK MOUND 65, ELMWOOD/PLUM CITY 47
Elk Mound………………………..33 32 — 65
Elmwood/Plum City……………23 24 — 47
TEAM STATISTICS (FG-FT-F-T)
Elk Mound (24-11-18-65) — R. Mohr 2-1-0-5, B. Rosenthal 3-2-2-8, B. Redwine 0-0-4-0, D. Curry 1-2-0-4, B. Lambele 11-0-2-27, D. Black 1-1-3-3, B. Lew 1-0-0-3, L. Berghe 0-0-2-0, C. Ward 0-1-0-1, J. Mentzel 1-2-0-4, N. Schreiber 1-0-1-2, M. Kinblom 2-0-3-4, C. Mavis 1-2-1-4.
Elmwood/Plum City (16-12-17-47) — N. Gansluckner 0-0-1-0, N. Forster 2-0-1-4, Z. Phillips 1-0-4-3, J. Glampe 0-2-1-2, T. Maxwell 3-0-5-8, L. Baier 10-9-4-29, J. Brunner 0-1-1-1.
EM — B. Lambele 5, B. Lew 1; EPC — Z. Phillips 1, T. Maxwell 2.