The Ellsworth Panthers boys’ basketball team traveled to Hayward Tuesday night for the first round of regionals and were edged out 60-53 by the Hurricanes. Ellsworth, the No. 9 seed for Sectional 1 in Division 3, ended their season with a 7-16 overall record including playoffs after they finished tied for sixth in the Middle Border Conference (3-11). Hayward (11-12, 7-9 Heart O’North Conference) is the No. 8 seed and will play at No. 1 Prescott on Friday.
The Panthers struggled shooting in the loss. They went 19 of 52 from the field, 36%, and were just 8-for-26 from 3-point range (30%). Junior Mason Anderson led the team with 19 points on 8 of 21 shooting all with three rebounds and two assists. He was the only Panther in double-figures. Senior Ivan Mendez added nine points, including 2 of 4 on 3-pointers, and had five rebounds, five assists and three steals. Sophomore Jack Janke contributed eight points, 12 rebounds, five assists and a steal and a block.
Ellsworth finishes 219-2020 on a downslide having lost their last five games and 12 of their final 14. That stretch came on the heels of a four-game winning streak and the Panthers started the year 5-4. They will return most of their key contributors from this season including Anderson, Janke, sophomore Spencer Schultz and junior Shane Lange. However, Mendez and senior Matthew Mehrkens both graduate along with Jaeger Quade, Blake Smith and Andrew Harrington.