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By Amber Hayden
ELK MOUND — It hasn’t been a great start to the season for the Elk Mound boys’ basketball team, but Friday evening, December 20, was a turning point as they snagged a 53-45 win over the Spring Valley Cardinals.
It was the Mounders’ first victory of the 2019-20 season which gives them a 1-1 mark in the Dunn-St. Croix and 1-4 overall.
Elk Mound started out aggressive as they have in past games, but with that came seven fouls in the opening seven minutes of the game.
“It’s a double edged sword, our guys were playing pretty aggressively,” said head coach Michael Kessler. “I can’t disagree with any of the calls and it really put us in a hole, especially since Spring Valley hadn’t committed any.”
Tyler Bowman scored first for the Cardinals with 28 seconds ticked off the clock and was also fouled for one foul shot, which he made, to give the Cardinals a 3-0 lead.
Cardinal’s point guard, Aaron Borgerding, was fouled seconds later and hit one of his two shots to make it 4-0.
Cade Hanson put the first points on the scoreboard for Elk Mound as he hit a big shot from inside the paint to make it a two-point contest. Hanson finished the night with nine points from two doubles, a trey, and was two-of-three from the line. The senior, however, sat for most of the first half after receiving his first two fouls in the opening seven minutes.
Ben Heath also had four fouls in the two halves, but was able to score ten points for the Mounders off a double, two triples, and was two-of-two from the line.
Unfortunately, the Mounders struggled with 11 fouls in the opening 18 minutes that kept them from gaining any ground, and they headed into the locker rooms down by 11, 20-31. Leaving Elk Mound to play things safely and not send Spring Valley back to the line.
“Cade is a fire cracker up there and really sets the tone for our 1-3-1 defense, keeping him in there as he just has so much energy. I think it’s the cross country, the kid never gets tired,” Kessler stated.
Elk Mound continued their 1-3-1 defense as they headed into the second half and were able to keep the fouls to a minimum while Spring Valley’s full-court press sent several Mounders to the charity stripe as they hit seven of their nine attempts.
The Mounders closed the gap to knot things at 36 when Michael Jenson put up two points with 9:46 left in the game. Jenson finished things up at ten points with two doubles and a pair of threes.
Hanson hit a three, three minutes later to give Elk Mound the lead, one they would never relinquish in the second half as they outscored Spring Valley by 19 points, 33-14.
“We weren’t making many shots,” Kessler said in regards to the first half, “and the foul situation caused us to play a little lethargic I thought. On the defensive end, we really focused on bringing the energy on that end and letting that turn into offense. Once these guys get some energy they are a really fun group to watch and to coach.”
Junior Ryan Bohl led Elk Mound with a total of 11 points, nine of which came in the second half. Bohl had three doubles, a triple, and was two-of-two from the line.
Also scoring for Elk Mound was Nate Lew with nine points, a triple, double, and four-of-five from the charity stripe. Blaze Todd and Cole Steinhorst each hit a bucket from underneath.
“It’s nice to be able to go to guys on our bench or guys that started the game to sub in and out, whoever is hot that night or playing well,” said Kessler.
The Mounders will host the Eau Claire Regis Ramblers of the Cloverbelt Conference this Thursday, January 2, and then will travel to Elmwood to take on the Wolves on Tuesday, January 7.
R. Bohl 4-2-2-11, B. Heath 3-2-4-10, N. Lew 2-4-1-9, C. Steinhorst 1-0-1-2, C. Hanson 3-2-4-9, M. Jenson 4-0-3-10, B. Todd 1-0-1-2. Totals 18-10-18-53.
FG-FT-F-TP: T. Stangl 0-4-3-4, M. Bauer 3-0-3-8, C. Kotval 2-0-0-4, A. Borgerding 4-3-1-11, T. Bowman 5-3-2-13, C. Ducklow 2-1-1-5. Totals 16-11-12-45.
goals: Elk Mound: R. Bohl, B. Heath (2), N. Lew, C. Hanson, M. Jenson (2); Spring Valley: M. Bauer (2).