Eleva-Strum boys hoops begins tourney action

CENTRAL - The Eleva-Strum High School Boys' Basketball Team hosts a WIAA Division 4 Regional Tournament semifinal game Friday, Feb. 19 at 7 p.m. against Large Dairyland Conference rival Whitehall.

The Cardinals are 8-7 overall and split the season series with the Norse (12-8 overall), winning at home but losing on the road.

Both games were decided by just two points each: 51-49 and 59-57. It's no wonder they are the No. 2 (E-S) and No. 3 (Whitehall) seeds in the tournament.

Eleva-Strum comes into the ballgame with three players in double figures in scoring led by seniors Nick Higley, Ethan Karlstad and Mitch Olson. Olson also leads the team in rebounding.

Whitehall's top players are sophomores, guard Devon McCune and 6-5 forward Luke Bleighley. Both are averaging 11 points per game. McCune also leads the team in rebounds and assists.

Whitehall advanced to the semifinals after downing Alma Center Lincoln in a first round match-up on Tuesday 47-40 at home. E-S had a first-round bye

The winner will more than likely play (as soon as they down No. 4 seed Elmwood/Plum City in the other semifinal) Blair-Taylor. The Large Dairyland Conference champs are 20-1 overall led by the senior trio of scorers Kyle Steien at 22.1 ppg., Matt Walders at 18.4 ppg. and Alec Reismann at 10.4 ppg. Waldera leads the team in rebounding and Reismann in assists. The Wildcats beat Eleva-Strum in last year's regional semifinal 76-56 and won both contests against the Cardinals as well. Their lone loss this season was to Cashton.

"They're (Blair-Taylor) not a team you can sneak up on because they play so hard and are fundamentally sound on top of being big and quick," E-S head coach Alex Dodge said. "You've got to be at your absolute best to beat them because they will be."

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