Basketball: STMA again foils Elk girls 54-44

Elk forward Sidney Wentland was tightly guarded by STMA's Sydney Tracy. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

Elk forward Sidney Wentland was tightly guarded by STMA’s Sydney Tracy. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

 

The defending section champion St. Michael-Albertville Knights showed Elk River that they are still in charge by shutting down the Elks 54-44 in the first round of their holiday tournament Friday evening.

The Knights lost more by graduation than the Elk River team they beat 68-59 in last year’s Section 8AAAA final, but remain a much smoother operation than the Elks and out-hustled them, too.

Erin Autio, Bobbi Brendefur, and Kitri Zezza scored 11 points each and Rae Johnson 10 for the Knights, who made 15 of 24 free shots and three 3-pointers.

Elk forward Molli Detloff tries to hem in Knight guard Kitri Zezza after an inbounds play. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

Elk forward Molli Detloff tries to hem in Knight guard Kitri Zezza after an inbounds play. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

The Elks (3-5) hit six 3-point shots but never could get an inside game going. Abi Scheid, 6-2 center averaging 17 points, was limited to seven as she had early foul trouble and shot just 2-for-8 with the Knights all over her. The Elks missed about a dozen close-range shots in the game.

Elk River also struggled at the free throw line, 10-for-20, and continues to be bogged down by turnovers, with 30 of them, mostly on bad passes, to the Knights’ 16.

Shelby Gracik sank four 3-pointers and led the Elks with 14 points. Gabi Haack netted two treys and 11 points.

The Elks had a great start, leading 15-6 with three 3-pointers already, but they fell behind 32-26 by halftime, averaging more than a turnover per minute with 20 in the first half. Down 43-30, the Elks made a 10-0 run to pull within 43-40 before STMA pulled away again.

The Knights have won the last two section titles and five of the last eight. This year, they are 4-2, with losses to Fergus Falls (7-0) by 72-51 and Minnetonka (7-1) by 63-55.

The Elks will duel Edina (7-2) in the third-place game at 5 p.m. Saturday while STMA meets Maple Grove for first place.

Elk River — Anna Rollag 2, Shelby Gracik 14, Gabi Haack 11, Ava Kramer 5, Sidney Wentland 5, Abi Scheid 7

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