By Cara L. Dempski
BOYCEVILLE — Elk Mound head coach Mike Kessler was not quite sure what to make of the Boyceville boys during the Mounders’ road trip last week.
Not only were the Bulldogs playing hard at home, but they threw some new things at the Elk Mound kids January 30.
“Boy, they’re doing a lot of different things defensively that really confused us,” Kessler said after the game. “A credit to them, though, they just played their tails off.”
Kessler and his team eventually prevailed by a single point, 68-67, in a game that occasionally seemed like it might last into the wee hours of the morning, but instead ended on a literal buzzer-beating shot from Ben Lambele to finalize things after regulation and three overtime periods.
The Bulldogs were the first ones on the board, and held a 5-0 lead at the 16:00 mark. It would take until 15:41 for Elk Mound to score, and then it was a hard-fought inside shot from the hands of Marcus Kinblom to give the Mounders their first two of the game.
Senior Blake Rosenthal followed up less than 30 seconds later with a three-pointer that knotted the game up at five. Boyceville got in another shot to take the lead again, but the Mounders went on a nine-point scoring run to lead 14-7 with 12:00 to play before the break.
The Bulldogs put themselves back in the game with a series of shots, but trailed by eight as the buzzer sounded for intermission.
The Bulldogs came out for the second half and seemed much more aggressive in attacking the basket, but could not get closer than five points to the Mounders until there were about five minutes left in the game.
Then, Boyceville’s Bryce Boda broke the five-point threshold with a big three-point shot to make the score 41-38 in favor of Elk Mound. The Mounders continued to lead over the next few minutes, but Bulldog Luke Knudtson put the home team within two with 1:40 to play, and then Cooper Boesl forced overtime with a shot to make the score 50 all with 47 seconds left in regulation.
Things were looking dire for the Mounders approaching the final minute of the first overtime period trailing 53-52. That’s when Rosenthal hit the first of two from the line, and then Lambele nabbed the rebound to lay it in for two, earning a 55-53 lead.
Knudtson struck again, though, sinking both charity shots with 51.4 left on the clock to tie the game at 55. The buzzer sounded on the still-tied game, setting up for a second overtime.
The Mounders were again trailing as time drained away on the period, with the Bulldogs leading 61-59 and just 5.4 seconds on the clock. Dylan put up what looked like a three-point shot, but was ruled by officials as just two points, tying the game at 61 and forcing a third overtime.
Boyceville went up two points with just 40 seconds gone in the period, and then took a 65-61 lead after Jayson Gonzales drew a foul off Elk Mound’s Brett Lew. The visiting team responded with two when Rosenthal stepped up to the line and drilled both shots to cut the Dogs’ lead to 65-63 with just over a minute left.
Brandon Redwine committed a foul on Gonzales, who proceeded to hit one of his two shots, giving Boyceville a 66-63 edge. Lew had a chance to pull back within two with his own trip to the charity stripe, but missed.
The break Elk Mound needed came their way with just 22.5 left in the game, when Lambele put up an easy three and watched it sail through to bring the Mounders within one. A defensive scrum on the Boyceville end forced Bulldog coach Ben Luer to call a timeout with 7.9 on the clock.
What happened next was almost too fast to catch, but somehow the ball wound up in Ryan Mohr’s hands, and he and the Mounders raced down the court to their own basket as the clock ticked down to the end. He pitched the ball to Lambele on the inside, who stretched out for an easy layup.
The ball fell through just as the final buzzer sounded, giving Elk Mound the 68-67 win.
Lambele led the Mounders with 22 points over all five periods, Rosenthal picked up 15 in the game, and Ryan Mohr added nine. Kinblom was on his way to another respectable game when he was injured prior to halftime, and wound up with eight for the night.
Black and Lew were good for six apiece, and Redwine rounded out the score with two points.
The game’s highest individual score belonged to Boda, who earned 28 in the contest.
Elk Mound moved to 5-3 in the Dunn-St. Croix with the win, and is 6-9 overall. They faced Colfax at home February 2, and hosted Chetek-Weyerhaeuser February 6. The Mounders welcome Elmwood/Plum City February 8, and then take a few nights off before going to Spring Valley February 13.
ELK MOUND 68, BOYCEVILLE 67
Elk Mound………………30 20 5 6 7 — 68
Boyceville……………….22 28 5 6 6 — 67
TEAM STATISTICS (FG-FT-F-T)
Elk Mound (26-9-20-68) — R. Mohr 3-2-0-9, B. Rosenthal 5-3-3-15, B. Redwine 1-0-4-2, D. Curry 0-0-1-0, B. Lambele 8-3-2-22, D. Black 2-1-5-6, B. Lew 3-0-2-6, M. Kinblom 4-0-1-8, N. Lew 0-0-1-0, C. Mavis 0-0-1-0.
Boyceville (23-13-16-67) — B. Boda 9-3-4-28, Lo. Knudtson 1-0-0-2, C. Boesl 2-7-3-11, J. Gonzales 1-3-4-5, B. Larson 1-0-1-3, Lu. Knudtson 9-0-4-18.
EM — R. Mohr 1, B. Rosenthal 2, B. Lambele 3, D. Black 1; B — B. Boda 7, B. Larson 1.