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When the Spring Valley boys' basketball team trailed the Eau Claire Immanuel Lancers 13-6 early in their season-opening game, the Cardinals relied on chemistry to pull themselves out of their early rut. "I don't think anyone panicked," Cardinals' head coach Rob Bosshart said. "I don't think anyone started pointing fingers or feeling like they had to start doing things on their own." The Cardinals (1-0) claimed a 52-42 win against the Lancers (1-2) on Tuesday, Nov. 27, and got over their first-game mishaps as the game progressed.
Rob Bosshart can't remember ever coaching a selfish Spring Valley boys' basketball team, but the unselfishness of this year's group of Cardinals sticks out to the veteran coach. "I don't know that we've ever had any really selfish groups, but these guys are way more concerned about the team result than they are about individual accomplishments," Bosshart said. "A lot of the kids we have are really interested in helping others. They like to work with the younger kids, and this didn't just happen when the season started."
Mackenzie Kummer realized she wanted to play collegiate volleyball when she was a freshman in college. Playing basketball at the collegiate level has been on Logan Benson's radar since he was in middle school. Now the two Ellsworth seniors are making their childhood pursuits a reality. Kummer and Benson signed their letters of intent on Wednesday, Nov. 14, but celebrated their decisions with their family, coaches and friends in their high school gym on Tuesday, Nov. 20.
While many high school basketball players spend their offseason perfecting their shots, Kendra Kern has focused on her defensive play since the 2017-18 season. "I love doing it," Kern said when asked about whether or not she enjoys defending point guards. "Even if it's not my girl, I usually say 'I got ball' because I know that I can move my feet quick enough. Last year I struggled a lot because I got too close to my girl when she would come down, but this year I've backed off and I move my feet faster, which I've learned helps a lot."
Prescott's head girls' basketball coach Ron Murphy considered his team's season opener a "good win" for his players who outscored Saint Croix Falls 41-27 in the second half of their 61-44 victory on Friday, Nov. 16. Prescott Haylee Yaeger found her hot streak in the second half after the Cardinals led 20-17 at the break. The senior co-captain recorded 26 of her 28 total points in the second half.
Accomplishments have piled up for the Ellsworth dance team over the past year. Last year's team improved from 12th to eighth place in pom and took 10th in hip hop at the state dance competition. The dancers have gained support from their community after their countless, entertaining halftime performances, and they are now able to earn high school letters in dance after their motion was approved by the Ellsworth School Board in August. What's next on this rising team's radar? "We just want to keep improving," junior co-captain Alyssa Pechacek said.
After beginning their season with a 31-point win, the Ellsworth Panthers dropped to 1-1 on Thursday, Nov. 15 with a 45-33 loss to the Osseo-Fairchild Thunder. The Thunder only made three of their 11 free-throw attempts, but were able to capitalize on eight more field goals than the Panthers (15-7). Autumn Earney finished as Ellsworth's leading scorer on Thursday night; the sophomore found 10 of her 12 total points in the second half.
The Prescott girls' basketball team plans to take nothing for granted during the upcoming 2018-19 season. This should come easy for five of the Cardinals who are about to begin their final season of high school basketball. "We have to be working, we have to get better, we have to treat everything as if we're in a state basketball game," senior co-captain Haylee Yaeger said. "Everything just feels so much more important."
Anyone who attended the Spring Valley Cardinals girls' basketball team's first game of the 2018-19 season probably noticed an added amount of enthusiasm to the team's bench. Whether a teammate checked out of the game, sunk a free throw or jumped on a loose ball, the Cardinals would jump to their feet to liven up the crowd without hesitation.
The Elmwood/Plum City girls' basketball program made a huge stride in the 2017-18 season. Last year's Wolves recorded EPC's best record since 2012-13, and the 10-14 team made improvements in every statistical category other than turnovers by the end of the season. But when the Wolves were eliminated from the WIAA playoffs after losing 64-23 to Bangor in regionals, the team was forced to say goodbye to five seniors who helped lead the Wolves to their best record in five years.