by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
Five straight losses, three of them in overtime and another by one point, is Elk River’s ledger for the last two weeks after the Ellks fell to last-place Andover 79-76 at home on Tuesday evening.
Despite Andover’s extremely judicious shooting — 23-for-36 from the field, 28-for-37 at the line — the Elks had good chances at the end of both regulation and overtime.
The Elks, 12-6 when this skid started, are now 12-11 overall and 10-7 in the Northwest Suburban Conference.
“Our first time through the conference was real similar to the second time through. Every game has been tight to the end,” said coach Randy Klasen.
“But in the first half of the season we were winning all those close ones, and now we’ve had four conference games in a row where we lost on the last possession.”
The Elks have lost to Blaine, Park Center and Andover in overtimes and to Anoka 68-67 after winning their first six conference games that went down to the wire.
One difference Klasen could pinpoint was “we are not making the big stop late in the game like we did before.”
Devon Fellerman, 6-4 senior forward, led Andover with 25 points and 8 rebounds. Connor Wilkie added 15 for the Huskies (3-14 conference, 6-17 overall).
Elk senior guard Tucker Morrell poured in 22 points, sinking 6 of 13 from 3-point range. Junior post Bryan Edwards had his best game with 16 points and 8 rebounds off the bench, shooting 8-for-11. Guards Ryan Ness and Porter Morrell scored 12 each.
Ness tied the game 72-72 with a 3-pointer with 3.6 seconds left in regulation, and Elks then had a chance to win after Andover tried a long downcourt pass that went out of bounds. But when the Elks inbounded to Clay Elrod, the 6-5 soph stepped on the baseline before shooting.
The lead changed hands repeatedly in overtime. The Elks, down 77-76, had a chance for the last shot but a pass went through Elrod’s hands and out of bounds. Andover then got two free shots for the final margin.
Elrod, leading the Elks with 17.8 points per game, had a tough night with 6 points and 6 turnovers.
The Elks, wary of their section ranking, had stuck at No. 3 even after four straight losses, but will likely drop one or two notches now. Remaining on the schedule are Maple Grove there Friday, and Champlin Park and Armstrong next week.
“I am more concerned with just trying to play better,” said Klasen.
Andover 79, Elk River 76
Andover …………. 30 42 – 79
Elk River ………….. 20 52 – 76
Andover – Brady Johnson 2, Davis Johnson 10, Jake McNallan 14, Devon Felleran 25 (8 reb), Connor Wilkie 15, Kyle Kettler 12 … Team: 23-36 FG (5-8 3FG), 28-37 FT, 30 rebounds, 15 fouls
Elk River – Tucker Morrell 22, Ryan Ness 12 (6 ast), Clay Elrod 6,Terry Hadden 2, Landon Werner 2, Max Person 4, Bryan Edwards 16 (8 reb) … Team: 30-66 FG (9-28 3FG), 7-12 FT, 24 rebounds, 26 fouls