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Valley likes being under radar for regionals

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sports Ellsworth, 54011
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Not once, in either the official AP poll or the coaches poll run by www.wishoops.net, has the Spring Valley High School boys basketball team has been ranked.

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All this despite a 17-3 record and an outright Dunn-St. Croix title.

But that's okay with SV head coach Rob Bosshart. He prefers it that way.

"We know we're a good team even if others may overlook us," Bosshart said. "That's all that matters and this time around we're ready to play."

Besides, the only number in front of your team name that counts is the seed and this case the Cardinals are the No. 2 seed in the Division 3 Ellsworth Regional, which gives them a bye from Tuesday's first round games.

All the other Pierce County teams will be playing Tuesday. Ellsworth, the sixth seed in the Division 2 Spooner Regional, will be at No. 3 Cumberland. No. 5 Prescott is at No. 4 Elk Mound in Division 3 with the winner playing at No. 1 and defending regional champion Eau Claire Regis Thursday. No. 5 Plum City is at No. 4 Augusta in the Division 4 Arcadia Regional and in the same regional, No. 2 Elmwood hosts No. 7 Pepin.

Spring Valley will be at home Thursday to take on the winner of the St. Croix Central/St. Croix Falls match-up. Central is the three seed and at 16-4 overall, should make for a tough semifinal match-up.

But the Cards crushed SCC 46-33 in Hammond the last time the two teams played and if Spring Valley's defense is up to the task again, it could lead them all the way to the regional title.

"We hang our hat on very solid defense and balanced scoring," Bosshart said.

Ellsworth may be the sixth seed in its regional, Cumberland is only 11-9 overall and is coming into the tournament off a loss to No. 2 seeded Barron. The Golden Bears, 14-6 overall, get the winner of the Ellsworth-Cumberland contest if they get past No. 7 Altoona. The No. 1 seed is Rice Lake.

"You look at the records in this field and you see that the teams are evenly matched," Ellsworth head coach Cory Brathol said. "That means despite being 8-12 we have a good chance of advancing if we play well, "We've had a tough schedule of opponents this season and we should be well prepared."

Prescott hopes a similarly tough schedule will help them upend Elk Mound, 11-9 overall.

Elmwood and Plum City have the misfortune of playing in the same regional as No.1 seeded and defending sectional champion Eleva-Strum. Plum City would get the Cardinals in the semifinals if they can pass the Beavers, who are led by their 6-4, 311 pound mountain Chris Gardner. The senior's nifty footwork and agility helped him land a full-ride football scholarship to the University of Wisconsin. He leads the 9-11 Beavers in scoring with 13.2 points per game.

Elmwood may very well be playing a 2-18 Pepin squad, but both its wins over the Lakers were by six points or less. The Raiders will play either No. 3 Alma or No. 6 Gilmanton in the semifinals.

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