By Cara L. Dempski
Looking at the records in the middle of the pack for this year’s Dunn-St. Croix boys’ basketball standings is a little deceptive.
The Mounders are in the thick of things with teams like Mondovi, Spring Valley and Glenwood City, and all present as good teams when seen in action.
[emember_protected] Elk Mound edged its way out of the mix last Tuesday, though, with a 52-41 home win over Glenwood City that moved the team to 3-2 in the conference while dropping the Toppers to 2-3.
The orange and black then took its game south to Mondovi, who had a 2-3 record heading into the contest, and emerged with a sweep of the week’s games following a 60-54 win over the Buffaloes.
Elk Mound began this week with a 4-2 record in the D-SC, and a 5-7 overall mark. The Mounders home non-conference contest against Prescott was postponed a day to Tuesday, January 23 due to a snow storm. The Mounders then host D-SC leader Durand on Thursday, January 25. Coach Mike Kessler and his team host Boyceville January 30, and then Colfax February 2.
If you listen to their head coach, the Mounders got an unexpected boost in their January 16 home matchup against Glenwood City.
“I was really proud of the energy we got from the guys coming off the bench,” Kessler said after the game. “Whatever it was, they gave us a jolt, and really provided a spark.”
It is likely no one watching could put a finger on just what Elk Mound’s deep bench provided to the team in the 52-41 win over the Hilltoppers, but Mounder fans were not complaining about the win.
The Elk Mound coach also gave kudos to the Glenwood City staff for throwing an unexpected defense against the home team, mitigating the Mounders’ use of Ben Lambele in the game. Thankfully, Brandon Redwine was there to pick up the slack, capitalizing on a number of turnovers for transition baskets.
The Hilltoppers actually owned the first nine minutes of the game after holding Elk Mound to just five points. It was not until junior Marcus Kinblom tipped in a shot off the glass with 8:37 to play in the opening half that the Mounders even got close.
It was junior Brett Lew who gave the home team its first lead, 10-9, with an arcing baseline shot for three at 7:16. Redwine then increased the Mounders’ lead to 12-9 at 5:01 when he rebounded an outside shot from Ryan Mohr to lay the ball in for two.
The Mounders continued to pound away at the Hilltoppers, who only managed to score once in the final four minutes of the half, to carry a 19-11 advantage into halftime.
Elk Mound ran up the score to 23-11 in the opening minutes of the second half, but then Glenwood City started to slowly creep back into the game. First Riley Schutz hit a three point shot with 17:12 on the clock, then the Mounders committed three fouls in two seconds less than a minute later, and that seemed to be what the Hilltoppers needed to come to life.
Junior Tanner Davis sent in a trio of threes – one from just off the top of the key, and the others from the baseline – and Schutz downed a fourth to reclaim a 26-25 lead with 12:36 to go in the game.
Lew responded with another three-pointer to take back the game 28-26 before Schutz knocked down two to knot the game up at 28. The Elk Mound junior turned right around and put in another three-point shot, and that seemed to be the final word against the Hilltoppers.
Elk Mound pushed out to a 52-38 lead, which changed to a 52-41 win after Glenwood City’s Jake Nelson drained a last-second three.
Redwine led the game in scoring with 19 points to his credit, while Lew’s trio of threes gave him nine. Lambele and Blake Rosenthal tied with seven points each, Kinblom and Black each nabbed four, and Conner Mavis was the last Mounder to score in the game, taking credit for two.
Schutz picked up Glenwood City’s top individual score with 16 points.
GLENWOOD CITY 41, ELK MOUND 52
Glenwood City………………….11 30 — 41
Elk Mound……………………….19 33 — 52
TEAM STATISTICS (FG-FT-F-T)
Glenwood City (15-3-15-41) — D. Hierlmeier 0-0-5-0, O. Wagner 0-0-1-0, P. Hill 0-3-2-3, J. Nelson 1-0-0-3, H. DeSmith 4-0-4-10, R. Schutz 7-0-2-16, T. Davis 3-0-1-9.
Elk Mound (20-8-15-52) — R. Mohr 0-0-4-0, B. Rosenthal 2-3-2-7, B. Redwine 9-1-0-19, D. Curry 0-0-2-0, B. Lambele 2-3-0-7, D. Black 1-1-2-4, B. Lew 3-0-1-9, L. Bergh 0-0-3-0, M. Kinblom 2-0-1-4, C. Mavis 1-0-0-2.
GC — J. Nelson 1, H. DeSmith 2, R. Schutz 2, T. Davis 3; EM — D. Black 1, B. Lew 3.
The Mounders’ road trip to Mondovi was one Kessler was impressed with.
“We came out of the gates ready to play,” he said afterward. “I’m extremely happy for these guys, and really proud of them. It would have been very easy to give in when we were sitting at 3-7, but to their credit, they have continued to work hard and believe in what we are doing.”
Senior Ben Lambele played one of his best high school games on his way to 22 points in the Mounders’ 60-54 win over the Buffaloes January 19 at Mondovi.
Marcus Kinblom provided assistance under the basket while providing 13 points of his own, Dylan Black garnered 10 points in the game, and Brandon Redwine put up four. Blake Rosenthal and Dylan Curry reeled in three points each, Nathaniel Schreiber and Ryan Mohr provided two points apiece, and Brett Lew went one for three from the line.
Mondovi’s Avery Hoepner led his team with 16 points.
ELK MOUND 60, MONDOVI 54
Elk Mound…………..…………35 25 — 60
Mondovi………………………..21 33 — 54
TEAM STATISTICS (FG-FT-F-T)
Elk Mound (21-9-21-60) — R. Mohr 0-2-0-2, B. Rosenthal 1-0-4-3, B. Redwine 1-2-1-4, D. Curry 1-0-1-3, B. Lambele 9-1-3-22, D. Black 2-2-1-10, B. Lew 0-1-3-3, L. Bergh 0-0-3-0, N. Schreiber 1-0-1-2, M. Kinblom 6-1-2-13, C. Mavis 0-0-2-0.
Mondovi (21-9-16-54) — C. Johnson 0-1-3-1, A. Hoepner 6-4-2-16, R. Fath 2-0-2-6, O. Schultz 6-2-2-14, K. Fuentes 1-2-1-5, G. Gifford 1-0-3-3, B. Larson 5-1-3-11.
EM — B. Rosenthal 1, D. Curry 1, B. Lambele 3, D. Black 3; M — R. Fath 2, K. Fuentes, G. Gifford 1.