After being down 18-13 entering the second half in its game on Friday, Feb. 19, the Elks had to pull of a comeback to remain undefeated in 2020-21. In the process, they ended a Northwest Suburban Conference rival's bid to remain perfect this season as well.
No. 8 Elk River (11-0, 6-0) defeated No. 4 Centennial (10-1, 6-0) 45-32 on Friday at Elk River High School.
Elk River head coach Jeremy Digiovanni said the Elks were outstanding in the second half.
"Defensively, we were strong throughout the game and we did a good job of settling down and being more efficient and getting better scoring opportunities on offense in the second half," Digiovanni said. "We continued to get stops on defense. Any time you can hold a team like Centennial down under 20 points in a half, that's a good night, defensively. We were more patient and selective offensively. We took better care of the ball and made better use of our possessions on offense, which allowed us to actually score more than in the first half when we were shooting more and not playing at a pace we could manage as well."
After trailing 18-13 entering the second half, the Elks outscored the Cougars 32-14 in the second half thanks to some clutch 3-pointers, many of them from sophomore guard Jordan Langbehn.
Digiovanni said Elk River doesn't talk about its winning streak. The Elks haven't gone 11-0 since winning the Class 4A state title in 2016-17. The Elks finished the 2016-17 season with a perfect 32-0 record.
"We don't mention anything along those lines," he said. "We don't talk about record or anything like that. We focus on trying to get better each day, whether it's practice or games and focus on the next task at hand so we don't get too far out ahead of ourselves. We don't look back too far. We try to keep it even keel, same approach every day and get that 1 percent better every time we go into the gym."
Offensive Player of the Game
Langbehn led all players on both teams with 17 points. It was not only her season high, but her career high as well.
Digiovanni said it seems like every game that a different player or two such as Langbehn make a difference rather than relying on one superstar to carry the load both offensively and defensively.
"On teams that are having special seasons, that's usually what you see," he said. "You don't have to rely on any one person. It's the collective group that is getting the job done."
Elk River will face NWSC nemesis Champlin Park (5-6, 3-3) on Tuesday, Feb. 23 at 7 p.m. at Champlin Park High School. The Elks defeated the Rebels 60-57 in their most-recent game on Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020.