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Prescott girls prepare for regional semifinal game at Hayward

Prescott is hoping for a healthier Elly Boles to help them take on No. 5 Hayward in the regional semifinals.

PRESCOTT - The lone PCH area team still alive in the WIAA girls’ basketball regional playoffs, Prescott, continues in the tournament Friday with a semifinal match-up at Hayward. Tip-off is at 7 p.m.

The Cardinals, 11-11 overall, are seeded No. 7 in the New Richmond Semi-Sectional of the Division 3 River Falls Sectional. Hayward (19-2) is the No. 2 seed and had a first-round bye.

Hayward is ranked No. 5 in the state and the reason being is the play of senior guard Morgan Johnson, who averages nearly 20 points per game. The Hurricanes have another player averaging in double figures in points and that’s 5-11 sophomore forward Katie Stark at 10.1 points per game. Stark is one of six Hayward players who are between 5-9 and 5-11 in height on the Hayward roster.

“They're not just big but also very athletic,” PHS head coach Luke Kjelland said. “We’re going to have to do a very good job taking care of the ball.”

The Hurricanes tied for first with Ladysmith in the usually solid Heart O’North Conference for girls’ basketball. Hayward won a regional title last season but lost in the sectional semifinals to Ladysmith.

The winner of Prescott-Hayward match-up will play either No. 6 seed Amery (10-11) or No. 3 Barron (16-6) Saturday evening with a 7 p.m. tip time.  Prescott is aiming for its first regional title since 2009.   

“We’re going to Hayward as an underdog, we know it. But we also know we have nothing to lose,” Kjelland said. “If you take that and add to the fact we’re getting back to the rhythm we were playing with before the layoff due to bad weather, then our chances our success are better than it may seem on paper.”

What will also help Prescott is a healthier Elly Boles. The 6-0 senior center has been limited on offense due to an ankle injury but Kjelland said the injury is starting to heal up. The Cardinals won six out of seven games in late January and through much of February with Boles averaging in double figures.