By Cara L. Dempski
Elk Mound head boys’ basketball coach Mike Kessler is only in his second year at the helm of his own team, and picked up his first tournament win last week.
The Mounders faced Fall Creek at Elk Mound February 27 for a regional quarterfinal contest that Elk Mound saw the better of. The home team bested the Crickets 72-63 to earn a trip to Eau Claire last Friday night.
The orange and black took on the green and white of Eau Claire Regis Ramblers Friday, March 2 for the right to play in the regional championship contest the following evening.
Unfortunately, the Mounder boys could not keep pace with the Ramblers offensive firepower and were outscored by double digits in both halves in a 69-41 season-ending loss.
Elk Mound finished the 2017-18 campaign with a10-14 record.
Eau Claire Regis
Elk Mound could not stop the Ramblers guard tandem of Keelin Morman-Klatt and Cade Osborn who combined to led the Regis offense with 43 points in last Friday night’s regional semifinal win on Eau Claire home court.
Norman-Klatt, a 5’ 11” senior, netted a game-high 27 points including three triples in the first half and 16 points in the second half.
Cade Osborn, a 6’ 1” junior, proved to be Norman-Klatt’s perfect complement, chipping in for 16 points which also included a trio of three pointers in the first 18 minutes of play.
The duo helped Eau Claire Regis to 29-16 halftime lead over the Elk Mound boys who got nine of those first-half points from senior Blake Rosenthal and a three from Dylan Black.
Rosenthal continued to carry the Mounders’ fortune in the second half, scoring nine points while classmate and teammate Ben Lambele added seven after scoring just a pair of free throws in the opening half of play.
A trio of three-point baskets, one each, by Dylan Curry, Brett Lew and Jake Mentzel were the Mounders only other scores in the second half as they were again outpointed by the Ramblers 40-25 in the latter half in the 69-41 loss.
Regis finished with a dozen 3-point baskets to five for Elk Mound.
Rosenthal finished with 18 to lead the Mounders with Lambele chipping in for nine.
Regis (18-6) loss to Durand 69-59 in the regional championship the next evening.
EAU CLAIRE REGIS 69, ELK MOUND 41
Eau Claire Regis……………..29 40 — 69
Elk Mound……………….……16 25 — 41
TEAM STATISTICS (FG-FT-F-T)
Regis (24-9-8-69) — H Reinders 1-0-3-2, J. Salonek 1-1-2-3, K. Norman-Klatt 9-5-1-27, C. Osborn 5-2-2-16, A. Rocksvold 3-1-0-7, C. Brown 2-0-0-6, T. Cronk 2-0-0-5, M. Merkel 1-0-0-3.
Elk Mound (14-8-12-41) — R. Mohr 0-0-1-0, B. Rosenthal 6-5-2-18, D. Curry 1-0-3-3, B. Lambele 3-3-4-9, D. Black 1-0-1-3, B. Lew 1-0-0-3, J. Mentzel 1-0-0-3, N. Schreiber 1-0-1-2.
ECR — K. Norman-Klatt 4, Osborn 4, C. Brown 2, T. Cronk 1, M. Merkel 1; EM — B. Rosenthal 1, D. Curry 1, D. Black 1, B. Lew 1, J. Mentzel 1.
After beating the Crickets last Tuesday night, Kessler was definitely smiling.
“Maybe they’ve been listening,” he said about his team. “Maybe?”
The comment referred to his frequent post-game comments about what he and his coaching staff have been telling the Mounder boys all season to settle in and relax, to play their game and adjust to what is offered by the opposing team.
The lessons appeared to pay off February 27 at Elk Mound, as the Mounders ended Fall Creek’s season with a 72-63 loss and earned the right to play in the regional semifinal at Eau Claire Regis all in one game.
The Crickets kick-started scoring with a field goal from David Anderson a little over 30 seconds into the contest, but the Mounders answered 90 seconds later with a three from Ben Lambele. Fall Creek temporarily regained the lead at 15:31 on a shot from Joey Kinderman, but the Mounders again responded a minute later to lead 5-4.
Elk Mound then went on a 9-5 run over the next few minutes to lead 14-7 with 10:56 to play in the opening half. The Crickets took a 20-19 lead on another Kinderman field goal with 6:39 until intermission, but the Mounders fought their way back to a 24-20 lead over the next couple minutes.
Fall Creek regained the advantage when Dylan Schulz nailed a two-point shot with 3:10 to play in the half to give the visiting team a 25-24 edge. The Mounders would grab a 29-28 advantage with 1:12 to play before the break, but Kinderman sent up a three-point shot from near the baseline with 1.3 on the clock and watched it rattle around the hoop before dropping through the net to give the Crickets a 31-29 lead.
The Mounders wasted little time getting back into the game, taking a 32-31 edge on a three-point shot from Brett Lew at 17:31. Fall Creek would knot things up at 34 a little over a minute later, and then maintained at least a five-point lead for the rest of the game, capitalizing on multiple fouls at the end of the game to extend the point spread to 72-63 at the finish.
Senior Ben Lambele led the game with 31 points, Blake Rosenthal scored 14, Dylan Curry accounted for 12, Brett Lew accrued eight, Ryan Mohr logged four, and Dylan Black recorded three.
Fall Creek’s leading scorer was Kinderman with 19 points.
FALL CREEK 63, ELK MOUND 72
Fall Creek……………………..31 22 — 63
Elk Mound……………….……29 43 — 72
TEAM STATISTICS (FG-FT-F-T)
Fall Creek (23-6-19-63) — J. Pritzl 6-0-4-12, L. Dallas 1-0-1-3, J. Kinderman 5-5-4-19, M. Cline 2-0-1-6, D. Schulz 6-0-3-15, L. Olson 0-0-1-0, D. Anderson 3-1-1-7, B. Nicks 0-0-2-0, A. Kleinhans 0-0-2-0.
Elk Mound (26-12-8-72) — R. Mohr 1-2-4-4, B. Rosenthal 6-1-0-14, D. Curry 3-3-1-12, 14-1-1-31, D. Black 0-3-2-3, B. Lew 2-2-0-8.
FC — J. Pritzl 1, L. Dallas 1, J. Kinderman 4, M. Cline 2, D. Schulz 3; EM — B. Rosenthal 1, D. Curry 3, B. Lambele 2, B. Lew 2.