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New season, new Elmwood boys’ hoops team

Elmwood's Levi Wolf has the ball during the state tournament game vs. Randolph.

ELMWOOD - The Elmwood High School boys’ basketball team will be the defending sectional champions for the 2013-14 season.  But it’s not quite the same bunch which won the school's first sectional title and state berth since 1996.

Seven players from that team have graduated, including all Dunn-St. Croix Conference players Logan Wolf and Kyle Webb along with Seth Jones, who was honorable mention All D-SC, Eli Fredrickson, David Rhy, Pat Weix, Tom LaFlex, and Josh Wells. Levi Wolf is the only player who returns who saw significant playing team last winter.

“I don’t think it would be fair to judge this season’s team compared to what we did last season,” EHS head coach Chris Segerstrom said. “That was unique situation in that we had a large group of seniors who been together playing ball for a long time and those who were behind them had to bide their time. This season’s team is very different and is very eager to establish its own identity and personality and show they will be solid ballclub too. They played well on the JV level last season (Elmwood went 12-10) and they put in a good deal of work to improve over the summer. Our first few practices have been very impressive.”

As the lone returning letterman with extensive playing experience, Wolf will obviously be a focal point for this year’s Raider squad. Wolf, a junior, averaged six points and three rebounds per game. He has been slowed by a hamstring injury suffered during football season but Segerstrom says he’ll be back for the Raiders’ first game Tuesday at home vs. Gilmanton.

But Segerstrom doesn’t want EHS to become a one man show this season and doesn’t think it will be. Wolf will play from the two-guard spot on the floor but will be balanced with junior Noah Wells at point guard and junior Nick Bechel in the post.

These are the three sets spots after the first week of practice and the remaining places in the rotation are waiting to be set before Tuesday’s opener.   Other returning lettermen include seniors Dylan Shields and Tyler Freyholtz and juniors Nick Webb and Travis Joyce followed by those juniors and sophomores coming from the JV squad last season. Elmwood is aloso bolstered by two senior newcomers in Roger Connell and Mark Anderson.

“They’re athletic and they’re smart players,” Segerstrom said. “As a group the whole team they play hard and they play smart and think they learned a lot from last year’s team in terms of overcoming adversity, minimizing runs and capitalizing advantages and mis-matches.”

Even as they made state, Elmwood couldn’t quite get through the solid block of teams at the top of Dunn-St. Croix Conference: Elk Mound-Colfax-Mondovi. Those same teams are favored again to rule the league. That has Segerstrom and the Raiders thinking ahead a little to the sectional tournament and hoping their competitive play against bigger schools will again prove to be an advantage on the D-5 level.

“Gilmanton has very good squad, they’ll be a good opponent for a first game,” Segerstrom said. “Bangor too, I hear, will be very good as well. We’ll look more at these teams as tournament time approaches but we want to make sure we continue good basketball in the Dunn-St. Croix and benefit, win or lose, as we did last season.”