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Boys' basketball: Well-balanced scoring propels Panthers past Osceola; Limited offense ends EPC's season

THe Ellsworth Panthers tipped off their playoff run with a 73-47 win against the Osceola Chieftains on Tuesday, Feb. 26. Photo courtesy of Jon Claesson1 / 2
Ellsworth junior Ivan Mendez recorded 10 points in the Panthers' 73-47 regional win against the Osceola Chieftains on Tuesday, Feb. 26. Photo courtesy of Jon Claesson2 / 2

Four Ellsworth Panthers recorded 10 or more points in their 73-47 playoff win against the Osceola Chieftains on Tuesday, Feb. 26.

As a team, the Panthers shot 51 percent from the field and were led in scoring by senior co-captain Logan Benson who finished with 18 points. Benson shot 7-for-16 from the field and 4-for-5 from the free-throw line.

Cole Woodland and Mason Anderson both added 12 points apiece, and Ivan Mendez scored 10 points on 4 of 6 shooting from the field.

Benson led the Panthers' rebounding feat with 10 boards, and Woodland was the team's main distributor with three assists.

Osceola's Matt Schultz led all scorers with 21 points, but his team committed a total of 18 costly turnovers. The Panthers turned the ball over 16 times in their first regional game and will have to clean up their ball-handling before hosting the St. Croix Central Panthers on Friday, March 1, in the second round of regionals.

No. 5-seeded SCC defeated the No. 12 Amery Warriors 67-61 on Tuesday night after allowing a 19-point second half to dwindle to two points late in the game.

Ellsworth and SCC split their two regular season matchups, and neither game was decided by more than four points. Neither team shot particularly well when SCC claimed a 43-40 road win the last time the two teams saw each other on Thursday, Jan. 24, but SCC did outrebound their hosts, while committing four fewer turnovers than Ellsworth.

The two Panther teams will tip off at 7 p.m. in Ellsworth on Friday, March 1.

Eleva-Strum 46, Elmwood/Plum City 45

The Elmwood/Plum City Wolves' last game of the 2018-19 season matched their prior games leading up to it, according to head coach Zach Gilles.

"I would say it was a similar game to most of our season," Gilles said. "Defensively we played tough and battled, and we just couldn't put the ball in the hoop when it counted the most.

"As a team, that was a recurring theme all year."

The No. 9-seeded Wolves held their No. 8-seeded Cardinal hosts to 36 percent shooting from the field but allowed their hosts to shoot 8 of 22 from behind the 3-point arc, while they only made one of their eight attempts from deep.

The Wolves were led in scoring by senior co-captain Tyler Maxwell who recorded 13 points in his final high school basketball game. Eleva-Strum's Isaac Larrabee led all scorers with 22 points, 15 of which came from behind the 3-point line.

The Cardinals will face the No. 1-seeded Blair-Taylor Wildcats on Friday night in the second round of the WIAA Division 5 playoffs, while the Wolves say goodbye to six seniors: Maxwell, Noah Gansluckner, Nic Forster, Justin Nunez, Robert Brunner and Jordan Brunner.

The No. 1-seeded Prescott Cardinals received a bye in the first round of the WIAA Division 3 regionals and will begin their playoff run on Friday, March 1, when they host the No. 9 Elk Mound Mounders at 7 p.m. The Mounders knocked off the No. 8 Somerset Spartans by claiming a 46-41 win against their hosts on Tuesday night.