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Prep girls basketball: Spring Valley defeats Alma/Pepin in opener

Spring Valley senior Tatum Huntress, who finished with five points, gets fouled in the second half on Thursday night against Alma/Pepin. The Cardinals won a sloppy, physical game against the Eagles to give Sean Hoolihan his first win as the Spring Valley head coach. (Herald photo by Jalen Knuteson)1 / 4
Senior Holly Anderson defends against Alma/Pepin on Tuesday night in the Spring Valley victory. (Herald photo by Jalen Knuteson2 / 4
After making a baseline post move, Spring Valley freshman Lexi Johansen puts up a shot against Alma/Pepin. The Cardinals earned the victory, head coach Sean Hoolihan's first. (Herald photo by Jalen Knuteson)3 / 4
Freshman Sandy Bune brings the ball across half court for Spring Valley against Alma/Pepin on Thursday night. The Cardinals defeated the Eagles, 43-25. 4 / 4

SPRING VALLEY -- There were times where it wasn't pretty. After all, it was the first game of the season. 

But, as the cliche goes, a win is a win and the Spring Valley girls basketball team earned a 43-25 victory over Alma/Pepin in a non-conference game on Thursday night at Spring Valley High School. 

"Good, bad, ugly, a win is a win," head coach Sean Hoolihan said. "Our girls played hard tonight."

Spring Valley had 10 players score in the game, but no one with more than Ally Lee's eight points. Freshman Lexi Johansen had six and Sandy Bune, Tatum Huntress, and Camryn Wegener all had five points each. 

"I think we'll be that team this year. I don't know if we'll have a standout scorer all year," Hoolihan said. "It's kind of been our mentality from the beginning, 'together we will'." 

Bune, a freshman guard, said the team's selflessness was something that comes straight from practice. 

"Coach is always saying, pass the ball, wait for the open man," she said. "We like to share the ball and pass it around. It doesn't matter how many passes it takes, we'll wait."

Right now, Hoolihan said the Cardinals (1-0) are comfortable with anyone on the team scoring, as long as the wins follow.

"I don't think any of our girls actually care about (scoring) right now," said Hoolihan, who is in his first year as the Spring Valley girls basketball coach. "We have to keep that, though. That negative beast can creep up at any moment, but we've got to keep it out of there."

In the first half, Spring Valley had a 12-1 run that lasted over eight minutes. The Cardinals were not able to get their shots to fall, but they weren't giving the Eagles (0-1) many open looks, which was a testament to effort on the defensive end. 

"Our effort is there. We do some silly things that we'll keep working on," Hoolihan said. "But their effort is there."

On the subject of effort, Bune added: "The hustle was getting there near the end, (but) we can always improve on our defense and hustling."

Hustle can be a great asset and it turned into offensive scoring opportunities for the Cardinals within their run. Huntress, a senior, had a 4-0 run scoring both baskets within 14 seconds of each other with layups off of turnovers.

"Sometimes in games, when it's an ugly game, you have a couple of shots fall and then it seems like a couple more fall right after that if you keep hustling," Hoolihan said. "We have a lot to work on, but I'm really proud of them. They're confident and this is a group that needs to continue to build their confidence, so I'm excited for them.

"We may not be pretty doing it, but we're going to give it everything we've got."