by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
Anticipating a strong season, the Elk River boys got off to a good start, beating Buffalo 64-48 with a strong inside game Thursday evening at home.
“It was a good first game and we can only get better,” said junior forward Clay Elrod, who scored 13 points.
Max Person, willowy 6-3 senior forward, scored 14 points, all in the first half, leading the Elks to a 37-19 halftime lead.
Senior forward Bryan Edwards tallied 12 points and speared 15 rebounds. Senior guard Porter Morrell made seven assists while scoring eight points.
“I was very impressed with our first half,” said Elk coach Randy Klassen. “Two things that stood out were having just four turnovers and we out rebounded them 18-11. It was nice to see guys step up right away like Max Person.”
The Elks were 20-for-35 on two-pointers, doing a nice job funneling the ball inside while the outside game wasn’t there.
“That’s what the coaches have been saying, we have to feed the post as much as possible,” said Elrod, “and we had an advantage down low against Buffalo, too, and we capitalized on that.”
The Elks have won five straight openers over Buffalo even though the two teams are generally evenly-matched. They play in the same section so it’s a significant win.
Buffalo senior forward Ethan Freer notched 16 points and seven rebounds. Nobody else had more than six.
“Buffalo didn’t shoot as well as they usually can, but we were contesting their shots, too,” noted Klassen.
Morrell, Edwards and Elrod are returning starters, with Person and guard Terry Hadden joining them in the starting lineup.
Klassen added that reserves Isaac Howard, Mitchell Weege and Zach Ernst filled in nicely in their first varsity experience, combining for 14 points.
The Elks will play at Prior Lake on Saturday evening, 7 p.m.
Elks — Zach Ernst 6, Porter Morrell 8 (7 ast), Clay Elrod 13 (3 reb), Terry Hadden 3 (3 reb), Max Person 14 (3 reb, 3 stl), Mitchell Weege 4, Isaac Howard 4 (2 ast), Bryan Edwards 12 (15 reb, 3 ast, 2 stl) … Team: 23-45 FG (3-10 3FG), 15-22 FT, 30 rebounds
Buffalo — Jason Senger 6, Austin Youngs 4, Sam Ortmann 3, Ethan Freer 16 (7 reb), Zach Dahl 2, Andrew Iverson 6, Peter Cassady 6 … Tam: 16-37 FG (6-16 3FG), 10-20 FY, 25 rebounds