Elk River made the trip down 101 seeking to secure their #8 spot in the most recent Strib poll. Their only loss was to Park Center last Friday.
The Crimson had a first for the year when they had 3 travels in 3 trips down the floor. The Crimson offense had trouble getting untracked, and they picked silly fouls that gave Elk River an early advantage. Slow starts have been part of the last three games. I suggest either Jethro Tull or ZZ Top for warmups.
Matt Lindgren came off the bench and was again the ignitor making 4 straight points to give Maple Grove a 14-11 lead. Elk River has often had strong outside shooters, but their MO in the first half was 5-12 foot baskets. Jake Wieneke and Grant Kaufman both picked up their second fouls late in the first half, but Austin Paul made a big 3 to keep the Crimson close just when it looked like the Elks were making a stampede (sorry). The half ended with the Elks up 28-26.
The second half again found the Crimson making a rally after falling behind 28-34. They made a 10-2 run that featured good ball movement, offensive rebound put backs, and extra passes off penetration. After a Elk River timeout, the Crimson continued their stellar play and widened the lead to 48-43 after Grant Kaufman's layup. Erik Olson was like Windex as he cleaned the glass, scored inside, and made a few 'E'rasures that led to fast break baskets. Olson and Lindgren exchanged assists that led to bunnies or sweet takes to the hole.
With less than 3 to play, the Crimson made plays on defense that determined the games' outcome. Brandon Barta's and Wieneke's steals and layups on consecutive trips made the lead 11. Later, Barta's hoop and harm made it 62-45, and the students were heading to the north gym to watch gymnastics. Olson had a monster second half, scoring 13 of his 19 points to go with 10 rebounds and 4 blocks for the game. Brycen Wojta had 7 assists to go with his 8 points.
The Elk were a frigid 5-20 from behind the arc and shot only 36% for the game. Maple Grove shot 47% from the field.
The Crimson are now 7-4 overall, 5-2 in Northwest Suburban play.