The Elk Mound girls basketball team finished two games back of the top spot in the Dunn-St. Croix Conference title chase a season ago.
With nine returning letterwinners including a pair of starters, the Mounders look to be a factor once again in the league championship chase under ninth-year coach Jordan Konghaug.
Elk Mound finished 18-6 a season ago, falling to Dunn-St. Croix champ Durand in the Division 3 regional finals. Center Morgan Radtke (14.8 points per game a season ago to go with 8.2 rebounds per contest) and forward Ashley Gunderson-Morris (8.2 ppg) anchor the returners. Radtke was a first team all-conference selection last year.
Beyond those returning starters, forwards Kayla Bridges (2.4 ppg), Victoria Fasbender (1.5 ppg) and Taya Schaefer (0.7 ppg) along with guards Alana Plaszcz (1.3 ppg), Brook Plaszcz (0.6 ppg), Sydney Simpson (0.6 ppg), Hailey Blaskowski (2.7 ppg) and Sophie Cedarblade (0.3 ppg) to give the Mounders a strong nucleus of experience to battle expected favorites Durand and Colfax.
“Our team will focus on details to have success this season,” Konghaug said. “We will emphasize playing with great effort and energy and we will try to get better every day. We will have a chance to be competitive every night.
The team won the conference championship in 2016 and 2017 before taking third last season.
The Mounders open the season on Thursday at home against Fall Creek before hosting regional champion Bloomer on Tuesday, Nov. 20 right before Thanksgiving. Following the holiday the Mounders play five of their next six games on the road beginning at Saint Croix Central on Monday, Nov. 26 before kickstarting the league season at Boyceville on Nov. 29.
Elk Mound’s lone home game during that stretch comes on Dec. 4 when the Mounders host Colfax in a battle of expected league heavyweights. Elk Mound plays at Durand on Jan. 11 before hosting the Panthers in the final regular season contest on Feb. 14.
“Our team has the potential to be a good defensive team,” Konghaug said. “Our size will be a strength. We will work hard to get better every day so that we are playing our best basketball come tournament time.”
Konghaug has a 127-64 record in his eight seasons leading Elk Mound with a pair of conference championships and a Division 3 regional championship in 2017.