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Gaelin Elmore reaches 1,000 points; Somerset boys basketball wins twice

Gaelin Elmore’s ability to play at, and above the rim, has made him one of the leading scorers in Somerset basketball history. 1 / 2
Somerset guard Heaven Hunt drives to the basket during Saturday’s win over Glenwood City.2 / 2

Senior Gaelin Elmore became the fifth player in Somerset boys basketball history to score 1,000 points in his career during the Spartans’ 73-46 win over Glenwood City in the Hilltoppers’ holiday tournament.

The Spartans opened the tournament with a 54-45 win over St. Croix Falls on Friday. The Spartans faced the host school on Saturday and they made sure Elmore got to the 1,000-point mark right away.

The Spartans ran an alley oop pass to Elmore on the first possession of the game, but the play didn’t connect. The Spartans got the ball to Elmore again on their second possession and he was fouled as he drove to the basket. He hit both free throws to put him over the 1,000-point mark. He came into the weekend needing 20 points to reach 1,000 and he scored 19 points in the win over St. Croix Falls.

Elmore joins Brian Moulton, Garrett Belisle, Derek Anderson and Mike Schachtner as Spartan boys who’ve scored 1,000 points in their varsity career.

Elmore’s milestone was the highlight of a sluggish first half for the Spartans. The Spartans led 28-23 at the break, but they showed very little movement in their halfcourt offense. Most of their points came in transition where the Spartans used their team speed to beat the Hilltoppers upcourt for easy shots.

In the second half, the Spartans looked like they were a different team. Led by senior guard Jack Emmert, they were taking the ball strongly to the basket. They also had much quicker ball movement, which created numerous open shots.

“We played with more of a sense of urgency, more toughness,” Somerset coach Brent Larson said of the team’s second half surge.

The Spartans put the game away with a 14-0 run that began late in the third quarter and carried into the opening minute of the final quarter.

Elmore and Emmert each scored 18 points to lead the Spartans. Emmert played much of the game with a wrist injury after getting driven hard to the floor when he was fouled on a layup attempt in the first half.

“I thought he showed some toughness to play the rest of the game. He was in pain,” Larson said.

The second half of Saturday’s game was perhaps the best rhythm the Spartans have shown on offense so far this season. He said that’s the sort of execution the team should expect from itself every game.

“We’re skilled enough to do it. Championship teams don’t take plays off. They take pride in every possession,” Larson said.

On Friday the Spartans got a good test from St. Croix Falls. In the second round of the tournament, the Saints defeated Osceola 63-57.

One familiar aspect of the Spartans’ attack that returned on Friday was its full-court pressure. The coaches installed the press the prior week and this was the team’s first chance to use it in a game situation. Larson said he thought the press worked well on Friday, especially when senior J.T. Karis was at the front of the press.

The Saints also have an excellent post player. With the defensive combination of Elmore and David Richard, the Spartans were able to limit his impact on the game.

Elmore led the Spartans with 19 points in the game. Emmert scored 14 points and Austin Wodarz finished with eight points. Elmore had eight rebounds to lead the team and Wodarz contributed seven rebounds.

The 2014 portion of the Spartans’ schedule begins this Friday. They will play at home, facing New Richmond.

Dave Newman
Dave Newman has been the sports editor at the New Richmond News since 1988. He has covered the action in the Middle Border Conference, Dunn-St. Croix Conference and Big Rivers Conference for nearly 30 years.
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