The 2018-19 Spring Valley girls' basketball program. Photo by Ron Cipriano
The 2018-19 Spring Valley girls' basketball program. Photo by Ron Cipriano

SPRING VALLEY, WI - There is a lot to be said for a team with good leadership, usually winners is the key term.

“We have a really good core of seniors,” said Head Coach Sean Hoolihan. “We are expecting really good things from them and great leadership.”

The Cardinals lost two players to graduation and one player moved away from last year’s squad that finished 1-22 on the season, but gained a lot of experience.

The good news coming back for the Cardinals is the return of their leading scorer and rebounder in Lexi Johansen. The junior led the team in scoring at a clip of 8.4 points per game. She pulled down more rebounds per game last season than any other Cardinal players as well, at a rate of about nine per game. The experience and productivity will be in high demand this season for the Cardinals as they start this season with some new faces in new places, as well as the return of a number of players.

Some of those key players returning include seniors Lydia Wittmer, Brenna Schreiber and Erin Stans, all of whom played key roles in various starting positions last year. Add to that the all-out effort of Shye Klatt and Dakota Brooke, who also got significant playing time last year, and that is five seniors that are going to be pushing the team hard for every effort all game long, every game.

“These seniors have seen a lot over the years and they are driven to give this team every opportunity to get some wins,” Hoolihan said. “I am looking forward to seeing them on the floor this week.”

Another key player from last season is junior Morgan Rustad. Rustad started a number of games last year as well, then battled through some injuries. The junior is looking to stay healthy and be productive the entire season this year.

Also returning is junior Sandy Bune, who missed most of last season with an injury and has worked hard to rehabilitate her game over the last year and a half. Bune got a lot of play on the varsity floor her freshman season and then had to sit out last season, so she has perhaps more drive than anyone else.

There are also a number of players that got some playing time last season in varsity games, that are looking to step up their game to the varsity floor.

Some of those players include juniors Kari Hyyben and Katherine Dieckman, as well as sophomores Maddy Olson, Larissa Stark and Jasmine Ortner.

The Cardinals have 26 players out for practice, with a lot of freshmen coming out.

“We are evaluating all the players still,” said Hoolihan, adding that he and new assistant coach Mark Thomas are really excited for all the new players and all the efforts they have seen so far this season.

“It’s exciting, the attitudes and efforts from all the players,” the Coach said. “We are hoping to play a lot of players in every game and really hit the floor running, and keep right on running the entire game.”

The Cardinals open the season at home against Pepin/Alma in a non-conference game. Valley hits the road on Tuesday, November 20, when they travel to Clear Lake for a non-conference game.