The Elk Mound girls’ basketball team is known for using the whole court to keep the pressure on their opponents and that will certainly be the case again this season.
That style of play helped lift the Mounders to a share of the Dunn-St. Croix Conference (DSC) title, a regional championship and a 20-5 record 2016-17 season. Elk Mound had been on a 14-game win streak before being knocked out of the playoffs by Bloomer in the sectional semi-final.
But the Mounders’ style of basketball could not have been executed without a strong roster of skilled players. Among six seniors to have graduated in the spring, Elizabeth Fasbender led the 2016-17 Mounder team in scoring, averaging 12 points per game (ppg) and 4.3 rebounds per game (rpg). Fasbender shared DSC Player of the Year honors with Durand’s Ambree Sclosser, and also earned first team all-conference honors.
Senior Kami King was also a strong presence for the Mounder team last year with nine ppg and four rpg. King also received all-conference honors as a second team selection.
Despite the skill lost to graduation, the roster will return a number of highly skilled players, many of whom have extensive varsity experience. In addition, many newcomers will bring a level of athleticism that will greatly assist the Mounders in battling for the conference title and delving deep into playoff territory.
One returning starter is junior Morgan Radtke, who as a sophomore, averaged 11 ppg, just one point behind Fasbender. The 6-foot center led the Mounders in rebounds with seven per game, tallying up 175 grabs on the season, including 85 offensive rebounds. Radtke will enter her second year as a starter who received second team all-conference honors for the 2016-17 season.
Other returning starters include seniors Hannah Cedarblade (small forward, 2.9 ppg) and Allie Weber (shooting guard, 9.2 ppg). Weber was also a second team all-conference pick.
Alongside a solid roster of returning starters will be a handful of other returning players whom include seniors Madysen Borofka (shooting guard), Crista Sweeney (center), Alexis Schindler (power forward) and junior Ashley Gunderson-Morris (power forward). Gunderson-Morris saw varsity minutes in 21 of 25 games last season and averaged 4.3 ppg.
Among a plentiful number of junior newcomers who will test their abilities on the basketball court this year are Kayla Bridges (power forward), Victoria Fasbender (shooting guard), Alana Plaszcz (power forward), Brook Plaszcz (shooting guard), Sydney Simpson (small forward) and Mary Tamke (power forward). In addition, sophomores Hailey Blaskowski (point guard) and Sophie Cedarblade (shooting guard) could see varsity minutes this year.
Head coach Jordan Kongshaug will lead the Mounder girls for the eighth consecutive year and will be assisted by Mike Schiszik, Jon Chisholm and Mike Wettstein. Kongshaug believes that between the experience returning and the incoming athletic skill, the Mounders have what it takes to have another successful season.
But Kongshaug knows there are quite a few DSC teams that have great potential as well. He sees Colfax and Durand as the teams to beat.
“They both are very well coached and have very skilled basketball players,” Kongshaug said. “We will have to keep getting better every day to have a shot.”
Kongshaug said the players on his team have no problem rising to that challenge, as they have already put a lot of effort into the off-season.
“I think we will have good chemistry, which usually translates into success,” Kongshaug said. “Our goal is to be playing our best basketball in March. We hope to have the opportunity to play in important games at the end of the season.”
With the post-season being four months away, Kongshaug and his team will focus on the present, as they prepare to begin the season on the road to take on Fall Creek on Thursday in a nonconference match-up.
Seniors: Madysen Borofka, Hannah Cedarblade, Alana Plaszcz, Brook Plaszcz, Alex Schindler, Sydney Simpson, Crista Sweeney, Allie Weber
Juniors: Kayla Bridges, Victoria Fasbender, Ashley Gunderson-Morris, Morgan Radtke, Mary Tamke
Sophomores: Hailey Blaskowski, Sophie Cedarblade