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Kobe Bryant was the kid with the rolled up tube socks dreaming about hitting game-winning shots in the Great Western Forum, but Drake Flom was the young boy shooting baskets on the Nerf hoop that hung from his childhood bedroom while pretending he was a varsity player on the Ellsworth boys basketball team.
The seventh-seeded Spring Valley Cardinals were eliminated at home in the first round of the Division 4 WIAA playoffs on Tuesday, Feb. 27 by the No. 10 Chetek-Weyerhaueser Bulldogs. The Cardinals finished the year with a 12-11 record, and graduate five seniors — Jack Walkky, Craigen Anderson, Mason Johnson, Kado and Zack Williams.
Though down their starting point guard, the Ellsworth Panthers managed a 70-52 win over the Amery Warriors in their first 2018 playoff game. The Panthers (No. 3, 19-4) were led in scoring by senior Drake Flom who recorded 25 points, 10 rebounds, two assists and one steal in his final game at Ellsworth High School on Friday, March 2.
The Cardinals opened up their playoff run with a 36-point win over the Somerset Spartans, but head coach Nick Johnson said his team's game "wasn't as easy as the score may have looked." "It was a close game for the first 14 minutes of the first half, but then our defense really turned it up." Prescott was able to hold the Spartans to just 23 first-half points after shaking off their slow start.
The opening night of the WIAA boys basketball playoffs was a grand one for Luke Baier and the Elmwood/Plum City Wolves. Baier, EPC's star power forward, recorded his 1,000th career point in the Wolves' 70-57 playoff win over the New Lisbon Rockets (5-18) on Tuesday, Feb. 27. Baier said goodbye to one of his two home courts with a 32-point, 18-rebound performance. Quite the way to go out.
The 2017-18 Ellsworth Panthers wrestling team won its opening-season invitational tournament by 83 points. They took the Eau Claire North Invitational title by a 103-point margin. The team competed at The Clash XVI where they claimed wins over Shakopee (Minnesota's 2018 Class 3A state runner-up), Zumbrota-Mazeppa (the Minnesota Class 1A 2018 state champs) and Prior Lake — three of Minnesota's top wrestling programs.
Ready for another Prescott vs. Ellsworth boys basketball matchup? The Cardinals and Panthers sure are. The two Middle Border Conference rivals will see each other for the third time this season at the WIAA Division 3 Sectional 1 semifinals on Thursday, March 8 at New Richmond High School.
The Panthers came off as a team that's been to the WIAA State Team Wrestling Tournament a time or two (or 17) in their first dual of the 2018 state tournament. Ellsworth (No. 1, 16-6) sent Chilton/Hilbert home by defeating the Tigers 53-6 in the Division 2 state semifinals, giving the Tigers their seventh and final dual loss of the season. The Tigers managed two decision wins over the Panthers, but it was Ellsworth's dual from the get-go.
The time is now for the Ellsworth Panthers wrestling team to put their season-long March mentality into action. The Panthers are on their way to the long-awaited moment of their season — the 2018 WIAA State Team Wrestling Tournament. The Panthers were sent off with a pep fest at Ellsworth High School, then were greeted by family members at East End Park before heading out to Madison. Ellsworth will compete in the state semifinals at the UW Field House on Saturday, March 3 against Chilton/Hilbert at 10 a.m. The state finals will follow at 3 p.m.
The Panthers will return to Madison's UW Field House on Saturday, March 3 — a facility that's become their home away from home — to compete in the 27th Annual WIAA State Team Wrestling Tournament for the 13th year in a row and the 17th time in program history. Though the Panthers have won eight team titles, last year was the first year the program had won back-to-back Division 2 state championships. The Panthers plan to add to their list of consecutive titles by bringing home gold hardware on Saturday. What: 27th Annual WIAA State Team Wrestling Tournament