There wasn’t a better time for the Elk Mound girls’ basketball team to have their best game of the season.
But Durand made all the right plays down the stretch to come away with a 56-47 triumph over the Mounders for the WIAA Divison 4 Regional Championship Monday at Durand High School.
“It was a battle,” head coach Jordan Kongshaug said following the game. “Durand is a great team; they are well deserving. I thought our kids played their hearts out, but they (Durand) had one little stretch that just was the difference.”
Expanding the margin
After knotting the score and trading leads for a majority of the second half, the Panthers broke wide open for a 12-0 run in the last four minutes of the game. With Elk Mound leading at 41-39 with 4:05 on the clock, Durand’s unanswered run sparked when two back-to-back field goals also earned trips to the line for an extra two points.
From there, Elk Mound continued to foul and put Durand in double bonus where they connected on one freebie and followed that up with a steal return for another two points. Another pair of trips to the line saw three points for the Panthers before Elk Mound’s Morgan Radtke ended their run with a triple from the top of the key.
But the damage was done. Durand’s run had provided them a substantial 10-point advantage, the widest margin either team had the whole game. Elk Mound’s Allie Weber followed Radtke’s triple up with one of her own to cut Durand’s lead down to six at 52-46 with less than 30 seconds to go.
With the clock not in their favor and Durand in double bonus, the Mounders sent the Panthers to the line three more times where they scored their final four points and secured the regional title.
Durand’s two highest scorers combined for 30 points at 15 apiece, but Radtke held the game high with 16 points. The junior connected for three field goals, two triples and went 4-for-7 at the free throw line. Radtke also led the team in rebounds with 14, including six offensive grabs.
Senior Madysen Borofka followed Radtke with 14 points in her final high school game including four 2-pointers and two 3-pointers. Hannah Cedarblade and Allie Weber contributed five points each while Ashley Gunderson-Morris added four points and Crista Sweeney chipped in three.
Monday’s regional final marked the final game for Elk Mound seniors Borofka, Cedarblade, Sweeney and Weber, who were key contributors and leaders for the 2017-18 squad.
“They’ve set a really good example for our team,” coach Kongshaug said of the departing seniors. “We’re really going to miss them and are proud of them.”