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By Amber Hayden
It wasn’t the start that the Elk Mound boys wanted for their 2019-20 season.
The Mounders got off to a 0-3 start on the basketball court after suffering loses to St. Croix Central, Prescott, and Altoona in the opening week of play.
First-game-of-the-season jitters and a tough St. Croix Central defense played factors in the Mounders’ road loss to the Panthers last Monday, December 2. Add in the inability to get into an offensive flow in either half of the game left Elk Mound on the short end of a 62-50 score.
Three days later, Elk Mound welcomed a strong Prescott squad for its home opener. The Cardinals’ strong offense left the Mounders’ defense struggling to shut them down. The Cardinals were only eight points shy of putting up 100 points on Elk Mound in the 92-50 triumph over the Mounders last Thursday, December 5.
Elk Mound then participated in the annual Northwest Tip-Off Classic hosted by UW-Stout on Saturday afternoon, December 7, and were able to work the basket from outside the arc, sinking 14 three-point shots against Altoona. But it was not enough as the Mounders suffered their third straight loss of the week and season falling 71-57 to the Railroaders.
The Mounders will begin conference play this Thursday evening, December 12, against Dunn-St. Croix rivals the Colfax Vikings, and will have the following eight days off before hosting the Spring Valley Cardinals on December 20.
St. Croix Central
The Mounder men opened their hardwood season on Monday, December 2, making the trip to Hammond to take on the St. Croix Central Panthers where they suffered a tough 62-50 loss.
“We were unable to get into a flow offensively last night. I attribute that to two things,” said head coach Michael Kessler. “Number one, some first game of the year jitters for our kids, and number two, SCC played tremendous half court defense and pressured us incredibly well.”
Kessler also added that those two factors led to too many turnovers and many of the possessions ended with Elk Mound unable to get an offensive flow going.
The Mounders were led by junior Michael Jenson with 11 points. He scored nine points from outside the arc and when at the line he went two-of-three.
Ryan Bohl was solid from inside the paint as he had three doubles and was four-of-four from the charity stripe for a total of ten points.
“We had lots of flashes of good stuff throughout the game, and our kids toughness was evident,” Kessler explained. “It is a great opportunity for our kids to improve the next couple of days and get ready for our next opponent.”
Elk Mound allowed two Panther players, Gabe Siler and Kelson Klin, to top out at 17 points a piece. Siler had two doubles, a pair of threes, and was seven-of-ten from the line, and Klin had six doubles and was five-of-seven from the charity stripe.
The Panthers built a 13-point halftime advantage, leading 31-18 as the squads hit the locker rooms. The Mounders played better offensively in the second half nipping St. Croix Central 32-31 over the final 18 minutes but were unable to erase that first-half deficit.
Ethan Levra worked the court from all angles as he had a trey, double, and was one-of-three from the free throw line.
Blaze Todd and Ryan Bartig had ten points between the pair. Todd had a triple and double before fouling out in the second half, and Bartig also had a double and triple.
Also scoring for the Mounders was Carson Steinhorst and Cade Hanson each with a triple, and James Javanovich and Nate Lew each hit the backboards for two.
Elk Mound (50)
FG-FT-F-TP: R. Bohl 3-4-3-10, J. Javanovich 1-0-0-2, N. Lew 1-0-2-2, E. Levra 2-1-4-6, C. Steinhorst 1-0-1-3, R. Bartig 2-0-1-5, C. Hanson 1-0-1-3, M. Jenson 3-2-3-11, B. Todd 2-0-5-5. Totals 16-7-20-50
St. Croix Central (62)
FG-FT-F-TP: T. Kopacz 2-0-3-5, J. Pettit 2-3-3-11, C. Hackbarth 3-2-2-11, S. Trainor 2-1-1-6, G. Siler 4-7-2-17, K. Klin 6-5-2-17. Totals 19-18-17-62.
Elk Mound………………………..18 32 – 50
St. Croix Central.………………..31 31 – 62
3-point goals: Elk Mound: E. Levra, C. Steinhorst, R. Bartig, C. Hanson, M. Jenson (3), B. Todd; St. Croix Central: T. Kopacz, J. Pettit, C. Hackbarth, S. Trainor, G. Siler (2).
Things didn’t go well for the Mounder men as they took on Prescott at home on Thursday, December 5, and fell hard 50-92.
Leading the Mounders was senior Blaze Todd who had 16 points as he went three-of-four from the line with five doubles and a trey.
Parker Nielsen was a thorn in the sides of Elk Mound’s defense as he was able to get inside for 12 field goals, as well as two triples from outside the arc, he was also six-of-ten from the foul line.
Junior Ryan Bohl made his presence known from outside the arc as he put up four shots, Bohl also went one-of-two from the charity stripe and had a lone double for a total of 15 points.
Michael Jenson worked all sides of the court as he had three doubles, a triple, and was one-of-three at the line for the Mounders.
Also scoring for Elk Mound was Nate Lew with seven points off a double, two free-throws, and a triple, and Ryan Bartig had a double for two points.
Elk Mound trailed by 29 points at the break – 59-30 – and were outscored 33-20 in the second half.
Elk Mound (50)
FG-FT-F-TP: R. Bohl 5-1-315, N. Lew 2-2-3-7, R. Bartig 1-0-1-2, M. Jenson 4-1-3-10, B. Todd 6-3-4-16. Totals 18-7-21-50.
FG-FT-F-TP: D. Malmlov 2-0-2-5, J. Malmlov 2-0-2-6, M. Holte 4-3-3-11, A. Russell 0-3-1-3, P. Nielsen 14-6-1-36, W. Lenz 1-2-0-4, J. Doffing 9-4-0-22, P. Haas 1-0-0-2, B. Rohl 1-0-3-3. Totals 34-18-16-92.
Elk Mound……………………….30 20 – 50
Prescott.…………………………59 33 – 92
3-point goals: Elk Mound: R. Bohl (4), N. Lew, M. Jenson, B. Todd; Prescott: D. Malmlov, J. Malmlov (2), P. Nielsen (2), B. Rohl.
Elk Mound made a trip to Menomonie on Saturday, December 7, to take part in the Northwest Tip-Off Classic hosted at UW-Stout.
The Mounders were matched up against Altoona, and a slow start had Elk Mound trying to play catch up throughout the game. The result was a 71-57 loss.
“We got off to a slow start being down 10-0 right away,” said coach Kessler. “We played catch up the rest of the night and couldn’t quite get back into it.”
Altoona led by just five at the intermission, 39-34, but outscored Elk Mound 32-23 in the second half.
Ryan Bohl stepped up in a big way for the Mounders as he had 23 points, with 21 of them coming from outside the arc and a lone double.
Junior Michael Jenson used his height, 6’0”, as an advantage for Elk Mound as he was able to put up four triples, a pair of twos, and was one-of-two from the line.
“I was pleased with the progress we showed throughout a tough week of games, and really proud of the way our guys battled not just tonight but all week,” Kessler stated.
Nate Lew and Blaze Todd had 12 points between the pair. Lew had a double, triple and was one-of-four from the line, and Todd hit two shots from outside the arc.
Also scoring for Elk Mound was Ethan Levra and Ryan Bartig each with a double, and Carson Steinhorst sank one from the charity stripe.
Elk Mound (57)
FG-FT-F-TP: R. Bohl 8-0-1-23, N. Lew 2-1-4-6, E. Levra 1-0-1-2, C. Steinhorst 0-1-0-1, R. Bartig 1-0-0-2, B. Todd 2-0-3-6, M. Jenson 6-1-4-17. Totals 20-3-12-57.
FG-FT-F-TP: N. McMahon 7-0-4-21, K. Harris 8-1-2-18, C. Ray 1-0-0-2, E. Moss 5-2-1-12, B. Turk 4-0-4-10, A. Giani 3-1-1-8. Totals 28-4-12-7.
Elk Mound……………………….34 23 – 57
Altoona.………………………….39 32 – 71
3-point goals: Elk Mound: R. Bohl (7), N. Lew, B. Todd (2), M. Jenson (4); Altoona: N. McMahon (7), K. Harris, B. Turk (2), A. Giani.