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by Marlys Kruger
ELK MOUND — When the Elk Mound girls hit the basketball court this season, they will do it with several new faces in their lineup from last year.
Gone through graduation are three starters including, point guard Hailey Blaskowski, a first-team Dunn-St. Croix Conference pick, leading scorer Taya Schaefer, a second-team selection, and three-point specialist Sophie Cedarblade who was chosen to the honorable mention team.
Head coach Jordan Kongshaug begins his 11th season leading the Mounders, posting a record of 159-78. His team finished with a respectable 18-6 record last year, losing to Arcadia in the regional final. They were 11-3 in conference play, placing third with two losses to Colfax and one to Mondovi.
Two starters from that team return to lead the Mounders. Tori Blaskowski will be one of the primary ball handlers for the team and will be depended on to score attacking the basket, as well as to provide defensive energy. Olivia Schreiber will also be a threat attacking the basket and will be counted on for her defensive abilities, according to Kongshaug.
Other returning letter winners expected to help include, Stella Rhude, Brooke Emery, and Isabella Hollister.
“We will depend on Stella’s athleticism and her ability to create offense,” Kongshaug said. “Brooke will be a threat from the outside, and we will depend on Isabella’s energy and intensity on both ends of the court, as well as for her to knock down outside shots,” he added.
Also expected to make contributions to the varsity this season are Kailee Rhude, Lydia Rubenzer, and Olivia Schindler.
The Mounders have no seniors on this year’s squad.
Kongshaug believes strengths for the Mounder team this year are their athleticism and their ability to play with intensity. But, without a lot of size, rebounding may be a challenge. They are also a very young team, so they will need to continue to grow as the season progresses.
Goals this year are to take care of the ball and be solid defensively. Statistically, the team wants to create more turnovers than they commit. They look to improve during every practice, so they are playing their best basketball at the end of the season.
Leading the competition in the conference this year, according to Kongshaug, should be Colfax the defending champion, Durand, and Mondovi.
“Despite Colfax losing a lot of players, they have a talented roster and a lot of strong players returning,” he said. “ Durand returns a lot of solid players including one of the best players in the conference, McKenna Hurlburt. Mondovi should also be a challenge with solid guard play by Morgan Clark,” he concluded.
The Lady Mounders opened the season last Tuesday evening, November 24, with a 54-42 loss at Fall Creek. They returned to the road Monday, November 30 for another non-conference contest at Baldwin-Woodville before opening Dunn-St. Croix play on Thursday, December 3 with a third straight road game in Spring Valley.
2020-21 Team Roster
Juniors: Lydia Rubenzer, Isabella Hollister, Kalle Rhude, Olivia Schreiber, Olivia Schindler
Sophomores: Kate Mohr, Tori Blaskowski, Brooke Emery, Stella Rhude, Lauren Garnett, Karsyn Heath, Mercede Rothbauer, Sierra Simpson, Grace Roder
Freshmen: Lydia Levra, Madyisn Mohr, Carly Mohr, Caroline Gabert, Chloe Dummer, Riley Engum, Kylee Jenson, Jillian Schlewitz.