Raiders win thrice but title eludes
PLUM CITY -- You can only worry about your own business, not someone else's .
And Elmwood had plenty of business last week to attend to.
The Raiders had three games to play, two regularly scheduled conference games against Plum City and Pepin plus a make-up vs. Boyceville. They won all three.
However, those wins could not ultimately affect the fortunes of Spring Valley, who won twice last week to clinch a share of the Dunn-St. Croix title.
For Elmwood to get a piece of the action they would have to win this week and hope Boyceville pulls off a monumental upset of Spring Valley on Thursday.
But that again, is someone else's business, not their own as far as Raider head coach Jon Hinzman is concerned.
"We have to look forward and get ready for regionals," Hinzman said. "We can only control what's in front of us, and that's Colfax. We can't worry about anything else. We had our chance to win the league and didn't so we can't have any regrets now."
Instead the Raiders will have to content themselves with the fact that both of Spring Valley's losses came at their hands.
Also helping SV clinch the league title last week was Plum City's 51-48 upset win over St. Croix Central.
Three in a row
Just winning three in a row and four days was a tough enough task for the Raiders.
Elmwood used a strong fourth quarter push to down Plum City Tuesday at PC.
The Blue Devils only trailed by four with four minutes to go before EHS to make it a 12-point win.
"We had them right where we wanted them in the fourth quarter, just like we did up at their place," PC head coach Wayne Radle said. "But, give Elmwood credit. They're a scrappy, tough defensive team and that made a difference for them."
Elmwood's quick hand disrupted many Plum City passes and led to 18 turnovers.
Steve Pax had 20 points, Cody Maves 11 and Ryan Bechel 10 points for the Raiders. Pax, also, came away with 11 rebounds. Logan Radle had 17 points for the Devils and nine points each were scored by Tyler Hanson and Kyle Flynn.
A 40-18 first half was all the Raiders need to win at home Thursday against Boyceville. That plus four players in double figures led by Pax with 20 points, Michael Brunner with 19, 13 points for Maves and 10 points for Brett Bock. Maves made four steals. Nate DeLong led Boyceville, 1-18 overall, with 16 points.
Elmwood was running on fumes by the time they played Pepin at home Friday. The Lakers, 2-16 overall, had a strong first half and led 34-32 at the break. But Elmwood grabbed the lead in the third quarter and eventually made it to safety with a three-point 71-68 win.
"Any time you play that many games in week, especially this late in the season fatigue becomes a factor," Hinzman said. "And we were feeling the effects by the time we played Pepin. But we played a good second half and that's encouraging when you realize you got to win three games in a week to win a regional."
Pepin had four players in double figures led by Jordan Haake's 20 points. Elmwood counters with 23 points from Pax, 21 from Brunner and 11 points from Bock. Maves had a team-high nine rebounds and 11 assists.
A Devil for Defense
Plum City held Central to just one point in the fourth quarter which turned around a five-point deficit and led to the upset win in Hammond Friday.
"It was a great game from start to finish," Radle said to the Red Wing Republican-Eagle. "Our guys just stepped up on defense."
Gilles had 16 points for the Devils while Flynn finished with 14 points. Adam Milliren grabbed 10 rebounds. Central, 15-4 overall, was led by Jeff Fern's 17 points.