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The Elk Mound boys’ basketball team split a pair of road games last week.
The Mounders picked up their first win of the season, an important conference victory, with a 62-54 triumph in Spring Valley last Tuesday, December 8 only to fall two points short, 50-48, in a non-conference game at Altoona on Saturday, December 12.
The most recent results give Elk Mound a 1-0 start in the Dunn-St. Croix race but just 1-3 overall.
Against the Cardinals in Spring Valley, a trio of Mounders scored in the double digits to offset the 22-point performance of Tyler Bowman. Kaden Russo tallied 17 points including three triples and Michael Jenson and Ben Health chipped in for 15 and 10 points respectively to lead Elk Mound to the 8-point victory.
Then in Altoona on Saturday, Altoona hit a shot with five seconds remaining to win the game. Elk Mound had a chance to send the contest to overtime but a five-foot shot at the buzzer rimmed out and sent the Mounders home with their third loss of the early season.
The boys will remain on the road this week with non-conference games at Regis last evening (December 15) and in Augusta on Friday, December 18. Elk Mound will then return home to host Elmwood/Plum City next Monday, December 21 to wrap up their pre-Christmas schedule.
The Mounder boys found themselves trailing by just two points, 31-29, following an offensive-fueled first half in which they made six of their nine, three-point baskets. Ben Heath netted four of those long-range bombs as he scored 16 of his team and game-high 20 points in the opening 18 minutes of play.
Unfortunately, Elk Mound was unable to make up that two-point deficit in the second half as the Rails went on to nip the Mounders 50-48 on a shot with just five seconds left. The Mounders attempt at the equalizer rimmed out of the hoop as the buzzer sounded to end the game.
Both teams finished with 19 points in the second half.
Kadden Russo, who had been shut out in the opening half, scored eight points including a trey in the second half. Michael Jenson and Ryan Bohl also contributed a three-point basket in the final half of play.
Brayden Turk led Altoona with 18 points, 16 of which also came in the first half.
“It was a fun game to be a part of,” stated Mounders’ head coach Michael Kessler. “Two solid teams battling from start to finish.”
“Unfortunately, we came up one bucket short but I really liked the way our guys battled,” added Kessler.
In what would be considered a minor upset early in the season, the Elk Mound boys had some spurts of really good basketball on both ends of the floor, according to coach Michael Kessler, resulting in a 62-54 road win over the Spring Valley Cardinals December 8.
After finishing second in the Dunn St. Croix Conference a year ago, the Cardinals are expected to place near the top again this year. But the Mounders, led by freshman Kaden Russo who scored 17 points, had four other players hit the scoring column with at least eight points to help earn the first win of the season for the team.
Elk Mound led 27-18 at the half as Michael Jenson scored eight points on four short range shots while Russo added eight of his own on both a pair of treys and free throws.
Ryan Bohl came up with seven of his nine points in the second half while Jenson added seven to finish with 15 points. Ben Heath finished with 10 points to go along with eight from Nate Lew.
Both teams connected on seven treys in the contest and the Mounders were three-of-nine from the foul line while the Cardinals finished three-of-seven.
“It was a solid effort from our guys tonight,” Kessler said. “We got some really key stops on the defensive end down the stretch and were able to hit shots in that time frame. Really proud of the way our kids are playing and practicing right now,” he added.