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First place in MBC at stake between Prescott and Ellsworth in boys' hoops tonight

Three teams, three destinies. One title.

This will be a decisive week in the Middle Border Conference boys’ basketball schedule for the 2014 season.

Ellsworth, currently in third place in the MBC just a game behind Prescott and Somerset, plays both teams this week. The Panthers are at Prescott Tuesday and host Somerset at home Friday. Both games tip-off at 7:30 p.m.

EHS put itself in position to contest for the league title by winning a pair of contests last week:  66-52 vs. Durand and 51-45 over Osceola, both at home.

Somerset put itself in position to win the MBC title with three wins as well: 58-40 over Prescott in Somerset, 53-37 over Durand in Durand and 55-40 over Osceola, also at home.

Prescott meanwhile, only played once last week and had nothing but time to think about a hard loss to the Spartans, its first in MBC play this season. 

The Cardinals, 15-3 overall, trailed 27-19 at halftime but never got back in the ballgame as the Spartans, 14-2 overall, outscored them 31-19 in the second half.  Clay Seifert led the Cards’ in scoring with 14 points but he was the only PHS player in double figures. Somerset’s Gailen Elmore finished with 23 points and Jack Emmert scored 18.

“We obviously didn’t execute our gameplan,” PHS head coach Nick Johnson said. “We watched a lot of film and did a lot to correct the problems we had.”

Whether the week off from last Tuesday’s game will be beneficial to Prescott remains to be seen Johnson said.

“Ellsworth’s in a rhythm right now and even if you play a lot of games in a short period of time you don’t want to give that up,” Johnson said. “I know when we were in a similar situation last season and it helped us. Hopefully we’ve had long enough to learn our lessons on defense to make sure they don’t have the open looks from outside we gave up to them at Ellsworth.”

The last time the two Pierce County rivals met Prescott got out Ellsworth with a 37-35 win.  The Panthers haven’t lost since then.  Chrystian Kulow had a season-high 28 points to lead EHS while Will Huppert put in 13 points for EHS against Durand, 4-13 overall, last Tuesday. Kyle Murphy had a team-high 143 rebounds.  Against Osceola on Thursday, Murphy led the team in scoring with 20 points and 10 rebounds while Kulow finished with 11 points and five assists. 

EHS head coach Corey Enberg said Prescott will face a different club this Tuesday.

“We’re a more confident team now,” Enberg said. “We learning how to finish games and win them.”

Ellsworth led Osceola, 3-13 overall, 27-14 at halftime and survived second half Chieftain rally to eke out a six-point win  The Purple continued its winning streak with 65-61 non-conference win at St. Croix Falls Friday. The Panthers had three players in double figures led by 19 points by Huppert, 18 for Kulow and 13 for  Murphy.  Kulow had seven assists and Murphy grabbed 13 rebounds while Huppert had 12 rebounds and four assists.

“St. Croix Falls is a good team and getting a win up there shows the nerves we had in the first game against Prescott are gone,” Enberg said. “Even though we’re winning, we still are not playing our best ball yet and the team is determined to perform better.”