by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
Clutch shooting and defensive plays by Landon Werner helped Elk River rally for 62-59 victory over the Andover Huskies at home on Tuesday evening.
The 5-9 junior guard sank two free shots with 14 seconds left to break a 59-59 tie and totaled 12 points.
When the Elks fell behind 48-40 in the second half, Werner helped re-ignite them by hitting a 3-point shot, and he made two key steals as they continued to rally.
Ben Erickson led the Elks with 17 points and 9 rebounds. The 6-3 senior forward had just 2 at halftime but came alive in the second half. The Elks had 10 players score. Will Iverson was next with 7 points and 6 rebounds.
The score was tied at 59 when Elk guard Ryan Ness stole a pass into the post with 50 seconds left, wrestling the ball away from the Huskie in the lane.
The Elks worked the clock down until Werner was fouled. He swished both shots.
Ben Wei, 5-7 guard who led Andover with 22 points, including four 3-pointers, tossed up a 3-point attempt from the top of the key that missed.
The ball caromed out of bounds with two seconds left, Elks ball. Ness was fouled on the inbounds play and made one of two free shots.
Jake Wagner added 19 for Andover.
Elk coach Randy Klasen was elated to see the Elks mount a rally.
“We’ve had a few games where we stay with them in the first half, but when they start to pull away in the second half we can’t make the defensive stops we need,” said Klasen. “Tonight, when we were down 48-40, we were able to do that.”
Andover made eight 3-pointers while the Elks were 7-for-24. At the free throw line, the Elks were 9-for-12, all in the second half, and Andover was 9-for-17.
The Elks are 3-14 in the NWSC and 6-17 overall. They avenged an earlier 58-54 loss to the Huskies, who are 5-13 and 9-14.
The Elks will play at Maple Grove on Friday.
Elk scoring — Tucker Morrell 6, Ryan Ness 4, Ben Erickson 17, Will Iverson 7, Landon Werner 12, Porter Morrell 5, Clay Elrod 3, Nate Arens 2, Coleman Hayes 4, Bryan Edwards 2