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By Amber Hayden
It has been a rough end-of-the-season run for the Elk Mound boys’ basketball team as it closed out the 2018-19 regular season losing five of their last seven games including a 1-2 finish in the final week of regulation play against conference foes Mondovi and Durand and non-conference combatant, the Bloomer Blackhawks.
The Mounders split their second and final Dunn-St. Croix games with Mondovi and Durand last week.
The Mounders and Buffaloes clashed on the court for the second time in a four-day span. After Elk Mound beat Mondovi at home by 18 points on Friday, February 15, the Buffaloes returned the favor last Monday evening with a 55-51 win in Elk Mound.
Elk Mound then finished the conference and regular seasons on the road.
Elk Mound pulled out a 43-28 victory against the third-place Panthers in Durand last Thursday, February 21 to finish with a 7-7 conference record and tied for fourth place with Mondovi.
Then came the regular season finale in Bloomer on Saturday afternoon, February 23. The Mounders battled the Blackhawk to a halftime tie, but Bloomer pulled away in the second half for a 47-40 win over Elk Mound.
The ninth-seeded Mounders, 9-13 overall, entered last night’s (Tuesday, Feb. 26) WIAA Division 3 basketball tournament in Somerset against the Spartans, the number eight seed. The lucky winner will travel to Prescott on Friday, March 1 to play the defending D3 state champions and top-seeded Cardinals in a regional semifinal contest. Prescott finished in a tie with New Richmond for the Middle Border Conference crown and sport a 18-4 record.
In their second meeting in four days, the Mounders looked to take it to the Buffaloes for the second time in a row, but couldn’t get around Mondovi’s big shooters in the second half as Mondovi went on to win 55-51.
“Their (Mondovi) guys caught fire in the second half and we weren’t able to withstand that blow,” head coach Michael Kessler stated. “Thought we came out and played well defensively in the first half despite giving up numerous offensive rebounds.”
The Mounders were led by sophomore Ryan Bohl who has been on fire as of late from the outside, and last Monday was no exception as he netted four triples to lead the Mounders with a dozen points.
Elk Mound held Mondovi to 15 points in the first half and went into the locker room leading by ten, but the Buffaloes put up big numbers off shots from Avery Hoepner, Ryan Fath and Owen Schultz in the second half.
Hoepner and Schultz each scored 18 points and Fath added 17 as Mondovi finished with a 40-26 second-half scoring advantage to pull out the four-point win.
“Credit to Mondovi for shooting the ball phenomenally,” Kessler stated.
Marcus Kinblom had a great first half followed by Nate Lew’s stellar performance in the second half as each scored nine points. Kinblom scored his nine in the first half with four doubles and a single foul shot, while Lew hit six of his nine points in the second half off of four doubles and went one-of-two from the line.
Seniors Brett Lew and Jake Mentzel were hot from outside the arc with each of them hitting two, Lew also had a lone shot from inside the paint. Adding to the tally were Colton Ward with a double and triple and Rian Flynn made a solo double.
Elk Mound did make seven three-point shots but Mondovi finished with eight.
ELK MOUND 51, MONDOVI 55
Elk Mound.…..…….25 26 – 51
Mondovi.….….……15 40 – 55
TEAM STATISTICS (FG-FT-F-TP)
Elk Mound — R. Bohl 4-0-1-12, R. Flynn 1-0-0-2, N. Lew 4-1-5-9, C. Ward 2-0-2-5, B. Lew 3-0-2-8, J. Mentzel 2-0-0-6, M. Kinblom 4-1-1-9.
Mondovi — E. Gray 0-2-2-2, A. Hoepner 7-0-1-18, R. Fath 6-1-3-17, O. Schultz 9-0-1-18.
EM — R. Bohl 4, C. Ward 1, B. Lew 2, J. Mentzel 2; M — A. Hoepner 4, R. Fath 4.
The Mounders managed to end their conference season on a high note as they took a win in Durand, beating the Panthers 43-38.
The win gave Elk Mound a 7-7 conference finish for the 2018-19 season.
“The kids played really well, very patient on the offensive end and our energy defensively was consistent all night long,” said coach Kessler.
Senior Brett Lew finished out his final conference contest with 13 points to lead the Mounders. Lew hit the backboards for three doubles, netted a pair of threes and went one-of-two from the foul line.
Marcus Kinblom and Jake Mentzel also played in their last conference game and combined for 14 points. Kinblom hit four baskets from inside the paint to finish with eight points while Mentzel hit a pair of threes.
“I was very pleased with our execution of the game plan on both ends,” Kessler explained. “Quality win on the road vs a quality opponent.”
It’s been a great few weeks for sophomore Ryan Bohl as he has stepped up for the Mounders in a big way each game and has found his shooting touch from several areas on the court. Bohl had seven points against the Panthers with a single double and trey and was two-of-two from the charity stripe.
Nate Lew and Colton Ward each tallied four points and Blaze Todd went one-of-two from the line for the Mounders.
ELK MOUND 43, DURAND 38
Elk Mound.…..…….20 23 – 43
Durand.….….………15 23 – 38
TEAM STATISTICS (FG-FT-F-TP)
Elk Mound — R. Bohl 2-2-0-7, N. Lew 0-4-0-4, C. Ward 1-2-1-4, B. Lew 5-1-3-13, J. Mentzel 2-0-0-6, B. Todd 0-1-1-1, M. Kinblom 4-0-0-8.
Durand — B. Ingli 3-0-1-6, F. Weiss 3-0-3-8, C. O’Keefe 1-0-2-3, G. Hurlburt 2-0-3-4, R. Radle 1-3-1-5, T. Tulip 1-0-2-2, I. Whitwam 2-4-3-8.
EM — R. Bohl 1, B. Lew 2, J. Mentzel 2; D — F. Weiss 2, C. O’Keefe 1.
Elk Mound took to the road one last time last Saturday afternoon, February 23, for their final regular season game, an out-of-league contest against the Bloomer Blackhawks, who challenged the Mounders and won 47-40.
The Mounders were led by senior Jake Mentzel and sophomore Ryan Bohl as each scored nine points.
Rian Flynn, after a quiet couple of games, was able to grab six points for Elk Mound in the Saturday afternoon contest.
Elk Mound looked like they would be able to compete with Bloomer as they went into half time tied at 23 all, but the Blackhawks squeezed out an extra seven points in the second half to take the win.
Finishing their 2018-19 regular season up were Marcus Kinblom and Brett Lew with four and seven points respectively. Nate Lew also contributed four points.
At the time of publication, there had been no complete stats or comments received for this game from the head coach.
ELK MOUND 40, BLOOMER 47
Elk Mound.…..…….23 17 – 40
Bloomer.….….…….23 24 – 47
TEAM STATISTICS (FG-FT-F-TP)
Elk Mound — R. Bohl 9, R. Flynn 6, N. Lew 4, C. Ward 1, B. Lew 7, J. Mentzel 9, M. Kinblom 4.
Bloomer — C. Ruf 2, J. Bleskacek 3, Z. Ruf 12, B. Sarauer 5, L. Stolt 25.