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Valley boys' hoop team a veteran, experienced squad

Ben Becker is one of several returning senior lettermen for the Spring Valley boys' basketball team.

SPRING VALLEY - For the first time in several seasons, the Spring Valley High School boys’ basketball team won’t head into a regular season wondering and waiting.

Instead of dealing with injuries to top players early on, which often put the Cardinals into a hole they had to spend the entire season trying to get out of, this season’s SVHS team is healthy and ready to go as they begin their season Tuesday evening at home in a non-conference contest vs. Cameron. Tip-off is at 7:30 p.m.

“It’s nice to be 100 percent healthy and at full-go,” SV head coach Rob Bosshart said. “We didn’t have to adjust anything or have anyone out of position or not ready for varsity play. We’ve worked hard and made a lot of strides and progress as a team in practice. The returning experience is going to be very helpful.”

The Cards’ will be a senior-dominated group led by lettermen Zac Webster, Ben Becker, Joe Helmer, Garrett Anderson and Nate Kalmes. Also back Is junior letterman Sam Green. Valley lost just three lettermen to graduation in Troy Rudesill, Gabe Verges and Jake Richardson from last season’s 9-14 squad, 8-8 in the Dunn-St. Croix Conference.

Both Webster, an All D-SC selection, and Becker were in double figures in scoring last season at 13.4 and 10. 0 points per game respectively. Webster also led the team in assists as well.

These Spring Valley players average in heights between 6-2 and 6-4 and it will give the Redbirds some advantages on both sides of the ball.

“Our kids have grown and have gotten stronger,” Bosshart said. “Being tall and long will help us on defense and it will allow us to exploit mis-matches on offense.”

Although a senior-dominated team, SV will also rely on several juniors to provide depth. These are Lucas Olson and Jake Helmer. Another senior in the rotation will be James Hannack and freshman Sean Borgerding will make an impact as well according to Bosshart.

Even with all the returning players, Spring Valley still needs to improve in several key areas before they can entertain thoughts of a winning season after back-to-back seasons below .500.

“We have to play more hard-nosed, tougher defense in the half-court, we can’t allow easy shots,” Bosshart said. “We have to take pride in our defense again. And we have to cut down on turnovers. We’ve had way too many and it’s really hurt us because we have the personnel to be a strong team on offense but our mistakes have negated this. That has to change.”

Bosshart pegs Elk Mound as the favorite in the league this season, with Colfax and Mondovi the top contenders.

“I know we can be competitive in the league but it’s easier said than done,” Bosshart said. “We need to build our confidence by proving we can play with these teams and show ourselves what we’re capable of”.