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County boys' hoop teams have challenges to overcome in regional contest

Getting past the first round of their respective regional tournaments will be a challenge for many Pierce County boys basketball teams, especially if the opponent is a familiar one.

There will be several match-up of conference foes in the first round Tuesday evening, including Ellsworth at Baldwin-Woodville in Division 2 and Spring Valley at St. Croix Central in Division 3. Plum City will also take on a familiar foe, Alma-Pepin at Alma in Division 4.

Spring Valley head coach Rob Bosshart said playing such foes in the regional has its advantages and disadvantages.

"Obviously you don't need to do much scouting and if a team has already beaten you then they may have an edge psychologically," Bosshart said. "But from another viewpoint, some teams would not face a league team, especially if they're a rival or have played close to them. And it helps in preparation because you don't have a lot of time between your last regular season game and the first round contest."

Bosshart knows the Cardinals face a steep challenge as a No. 8 seed against the Dunn-St. Croix champion and top-ranked Panthers on their home floor. But SV enters the contest having won three of their last five contests and having improved the second time around against the Panthers, losing 57-43 compated to a 57-36 beating in the first go 'round.

"Central is not a good match-up for most teams because they get such good guard play and they're big and quick," Bosshart said. "They also tend to score most of their points runs and surges. We have to avoid those, rebound well and shoot well obviously. In all these areas we improved over the last few weeks and we continue on that path we'll be in good shape."

The second season will be a second chance for clubs with losing records like Ellsworth, Plum City, Spring Valley and Elmwood, which is at Eau Claire Immanuel Lutheran in a Division 4 match-up.

Prescott, on the other hand, is .500 and they are the defending regional champion. While they are a No. 7 seed, their a team with plenty of depth and talent and one that has the scares from schedule that pits them against biggest schools. The Cardinals hope that will come in handy in what should be an entertaining match-up against No. 2 seed Glenwood City at GC. The Hilltoppers are 13-7 overall and have size and talent with players like Tyler Kuehndorf and Nick Schouten. But the Cards have the size to match with Glenwood and they have more depth. They hope to find plenty of scorers besides their leader Zack Charette, such as big center Chris Krech in the middle and Trevor Steger and Karl Stenerson on the wings.

The regional semifinals are Thursday at the low seed and the finals are set for Saturday evening.