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By Amber Hayden
The Elk Mound boys’ basketball team tipped off against a pair of league leaders in their most recent contests.
Unfortunately, the Mounders came up a bit short in both games, losing at home to Coulee Conference front runner Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau in a non-conference match up December 28 before suffering a heartbreaking 57-48 overtime road loss to Dunn-St. Croix leader Spring Valley last Friday.
In between the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, Elk Mound welcomed a strong G-E-T team on Friday, December 28 but second-half foul trouble hurt the Mounders who went on to suffer a close 63-58 defeat at the hands of the Division 3 Red Hawks.
The following Friday, Elk Mound traveled to Spring Valley to inaugurate the new year and resume conference play when it took on the Cardinals, leaders of the Dunn-St. Croix, January 4. The Mounders tied the game at 46 by the end of regulation play only to be outscored 11-2 in the extra 4-minutes frame and suffer the 57-48 loss.
Elk Mound, currently 2-2 in conference and 3-6 overall, hosted a non-conference contest Monday evening, January 7 against St. Croix Central and will follow it up with three consecutive home conference games beginning this Thursday, January 10 against Glenwood City followed by Mondovi on January 15 and Durand on January 18.
The Mounder boys had high hopes of pulling off the road upset over the Dunn-St. Croix leading Cardinals to start the new year off on the right foot.
While Elk Mound was able to rally from a poor offensive performance in the first half, in which they trailed Spring Valley 21-12 after 18 minutes of play, and forced overtime when regulation play ended in a 46 all tie, the Cardinals netted 11 points to the Mounders two to win last Friday evening’s contest by nine points – 57 to 48.
“We really struggled to score in the first half, as we only had 12 points,” explained Mounder’s coach Kessler. “We struggled to hit shots in that half, as we did not play inside-out and relied too heavily on shots that resulted from perimeter passes.”
Marcus Kinblom was the driving force for Elk Mound sinking 22 of the team’s 48 points. Kinblom hit the net for nine doubles and in his three trips to the foul line went four-of-six. He suffered only four turnovers before getting into foul trouble and exiting the game with 11 rebounds, two steals and one block against the Cardinals.
Kinblom was backed up by senior guard Rian Flynn, who has been tough to shut down from outside the paint, as he has managed three pointers in eight of the nine games played thus far this season. Flynn netted three triples against the Cardinals and finished three rebounds, one assist, one steal and a block to help Elk Mound outscore host Spring Valley 36 to 25 in the second half and force overtime.
“I thought our kids really picked up the energy in the second half and spent much of it clawing back from that deficit,” Kessler stated. “We were able to grab the lead late, but due to missed free throws and a couple of clutch shots from Spring Valley the game went into overtime.”
In that extra frame, Mike Bauer hit his only three of the game for the Cardinals and Dylan Bosshart, who led Spring Valley with 17 points, scored a hoop and two free throws as the Cards finished 6-for-6 at the charity stripe in OT to win. Two free throws by Colton Ward were the Mounder only points of the overtime.
Brett and Nate Lew each put in six points a piece. Before fouling out, Brett snagged eight rebounds, a pair of assists, and two steals while brother Nate grabbed three rebounds, had an assist, one steal and a block.
Senior Colton Ward made his way through the game against Spring Valley putting up five-of-eight bonus shots and finished with four rebounds, two assists, a steal and a block.
“It was nice to see us compete against a quality conference opponent who is currently sitting atop our conference undefeated,” said Kessler. “To compete on the road against them after only scoring 12 in the first half is a positive we will take from the game and hope to use it as motivation moving forward. We need to find a way to play with high energy from start to finish.”
ELK MOUND 48, SPRING VALLEY 57
Elk Mound 12 34 2 – 48
Spring Valley 21 25 11– 57
TEAM STATISTICS (FG-FT-F-TP)
Elk Mound— R. Flynn 3-0-1-9, N. Lew 3-0-3-6, C. Ward 0-5-1-5, B. Lew 1-4-5-6, M. Kinblom 9-4-5-22.
Spring Valley— T. Stangle 2-0-1-6, M. Bauer 2-0-5-5, A. Borgerding 4-6-3-15, J. Hannack 0-2-1-2, L. McMurrin 4-2-5-10, C. Hannack 0-2-1-2, D. Bosshart 6-4-4-17.
EM— R. Flynn 3; SV— T. Stangle 2, M. Bauer 1, A. Borgerding 1, D. Bosshart 1.
The Mounders faced up against the top team in the Coulee Conference, the Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau Red Hawks, on December 28 and found difficulty in rebounding the ball.
“I loved the way our kids competed tonight,” stated Mounders coach Michael Kessler. “We struggled rebounding in the first half and they got 12-15 second chance points that really hurt us.”
Marcus Kinblom led the Mounders with 17 points. Kinblom also collected nine rebounds against the Red Hawks along with four assists and a steal.
Taking it to G-E-T from outside the arc was senior Brett Lew with three triples and he was six-of-nine from the foul line,.Lew also pulled down eight rebounds and had four assists.
“I thought we responded well in the second half, we had too many fouls down the stretch and G-E-T made free throws,” Kessler explained.
Elk Mound managed double digits in each half, 26 points were netted in the first followed by 32 in the second 18 minutes of the game. The Red Hawks, who also scored 32 in the second half, led 31-26 at the intermission.
Nate Lew and Colton Ward put up six points a piece against the Red Hawks, Lew sunk three doubles while Ward hit a pair of treys.
Adding to Elk Mound’s total against G-E-T were teammates Rian Flynn with three well placed triples, Ryan Bohl with a triple and Cade Hanson netted a double.
“Even though it was a loss, I thought we got better and took a step in the right direction,” Kessler said.
ELK MOUND 58, G-E-T 63
Elk Mound 26 32 – 58
G-E-T 31 32 – 63
TEAM STATISTICS (FG-FT-F-TP)
Elk Mound— R. Bohl 1-0-1-3, R. Flynn 3-0-0-9, N. Lew 3-0-4-6, C. Ward 2-0-1-6, C. Hanson 1-0-2-2, B. Lew 3-6-1-15, M. Kinblom 7-3-1-17.
G-E-T— A. Peterson 6-1-4-15, K. Wall 1-0-0-2, S. Schmidt 5-1-1-14, J. Jumback 4-0-0-10, G. Beicne 4-4-4-15.
EM— R. Bohl 1, R. Flynn 3, C. Ward 2, B. Lew 3; G-E-T— A. Peterson 2, S. Schmidt 3, J. Jumback 2, G. Beicne 3.