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By Amber Hayden
ELK MOUND — For head coach Jordan Kongshaug and his Elk Mound girls’ basketball team, a solid defense will be a key factor for the upcoming 2019-20 hardwood season despite his squad’s youth.
Elk Mound compiled a 16-8 overall record last season and finished third in the Dunn-St. Croix conference with a 9-5 mark. Last year’s squad made it to the WIAA Division 3 regional championship game before losing a close battle, 60-56, to state-ranked G-E-T, who went on to play in the state semifinals.
“I think we have some athleticism, and we have the potential to run the floor well,” Kongshaug explained about this year’s team. “We can be solid defensively, but we are a young team and we need to keep improving in that area.”
Elk Mound did lose six players from the 2018-19 season to graduation: Morgan Radtke, Alana and Brook Plaszcz, Victoria Fasbender, Kayla Bridges and Sydney Simpson.
Radtke was a four-year starter for Elk Mound and earned her 1,000th career point during the 2018-19 season after getting 434 points in her senior season. She also led the departing seniors in rebounds with 248, with her height playing a factor in the 146 rebounds on defense and 102 on offense. Radtke also led the Mounders in points per game with an 18.1 average and had 20 games as the team’s scoring leader.
“Morgan was a dominate post scorer and rebounder,” said coach Kongshaug.
For twin sisters Brook and Alana Plaszcz, both athletic defenders and outside shooters, were close point wise last season with Alana knocking down 128 points while Brook finished with 123. Brook was dominate from the line as she sunk 16 of her 25 free throws, and Alana made 21 of her 82 three-point shots to average at .256 for the season.
Victoria Fasbender was a fundamentally sound player, according to Kongshaug, and was a solid defender and good rebounder.
Kayla Bridges and Sydney Simpson added in post scoring and energy shooting from outside.
The Lady Mounders will return three seniors in Hailey Blaskowski, Sophie Cedarblade, and Taya Schaefer for the 2019-20 season.
Blaskowski and Cedarblade saw the most playing time for Elk Mound a year ago as they earned minutes in 24 of the Mounders’ games. Blaskowski had 130 total points with her shooting from the line being her best asset as she hit 23 of 46 shots for a .500 free throw percentage, and Cedarblade was 61 of 152 from outside the arc and a total of 207 points.
“Hailey will be our point guard, she handles the ball well and is a good defender,” coach Kongshaug stated. “Sophie is a great shooter, she will be a threat to score from beyond the arc.”
Taya Schaefer will be relied upon for post scoring and rebounding, Kongshaug stated, and in her 14 games a year ago, she sunk five of her ten rebounds and had three blocks and four steals.
Isabella Hollister and Olivia Schreiber are also returning letter winners for Elk Mound and will contribute to varsity in the 2019-20 season.
The Mounders have several varsity prospects in freshmen Tori Blaskowski, Brooke Emery, and Stella Rhude as well as sophomores Hannah Larson, Kallee Rhude, Lydia Rubenzer, and Olivia Schindler.
The limited size of the team could be problematic for the Mounders and they will need to focus on consistent blocking and limit the oppositions offensive rebounds.
“Our goal is to keep getting better so we can be playing our best basketball in March,” Kongshaug said. “We are a young team, and we hope to enjoy the journey we will take this season.”
Elk Mound will have their eyes on the 2018-19 D-SC conference co-champions Colfax and Durand. Colfax returns a lot of their experienced players and are well coached, and Durand may have lost some of their experience but will be very talented.
Coach Kongshaug is in his tenth season coaching for Elk Mound and has a 141-72 overall record.
Elk Mound will open their season this Thursday, November 21, with an away game against Fall Creek, and won’t return to the court until after the Thanksgiving Holiday with a home game against Baldwin-Woodville on Monday, December 2.