SPRING VALLEY, WI - There have been some close games so far this season, and then there have been some that showed the potential of the team that ended up not-so-close. The Spring Valley girls’ basketball team finally put it all together last week in a return to action for a 55-50 win over Elmwood-Plum City to start the new year off right.

Unfortunately, the team lost in a non-conference game at Stanley-Boyd over the weekend.

SV 55, E-PC 50
“It was a win,” said Head Coach Sean Hoolihan. “It wasn’t pretty, but it got the job done. We worked through some rough patches and made plenty of mistakes along the way, but I think our struggles so far this season helped us battle through our struggles tonight.”

The two teams combined for 51 fouls in the game, sending both teams to the free throw line almost 60 times.

The teams battled back and forth in the first half with the Wolves forging a slight 18-17 halftime lead.

Valley came out firing in the second half though, building a lead of more than 10-points at times, but the Wolves wouldn’t go quietly.

E-PC, behind the play of junior point guard Kendra Kern, battled back, closing the gap to just two points in the final minutes of the game.

But the Cardinals have a junior point guard as well in Sandy Bune, and Bune wasn’t about to let the win get away, sinking free throws at critical times. Valley had built up a 54-42 lead with just more than two minutes left when E-PC came roaring back again, cutting the lead to 55-47 with just 15 seconds left in the game. A late three pointer made it closer, but not close enough for the Wolves.

“I think we got some key plays from some key players when we needed them,” said Hoolihan. “We had some sparks tonight and quite a few players stepped up when we needed them to, which was nice.”

Junior Lexi Johansen led the Cardinals with a double-double with 20 points and 15 rebounds, while Bune had 15 points, including going 7-for-13 from the free throw line, most of those in the second half.

Bune and Johansen have been leading the charge for the Cardinals all season, but in this game, they got some solid support from a few other players, most notably Jasmine Ortner (6 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists), Maddy Olson (6 points, 9 rebounds), and Brenna Schrieber (5 points) and Erin Stans (7 rebounds).

“I think we got good solid contributions from everyone when we needed it most,” Hoolihan said. “It was the best TEAM game we’ve played this season.”

Kern led the Wolves, and all scorers, with 21 points, despite fouling out of the game. No other E-PC player scored in double digits.

The Cardinals made 32% of their shots from the floor (18-of-56) and 46% from the free throw line (16-of-35). They also committed 27 turnovers and had 15 steals. E-PC made 31% of their shots from the floor (17-of-55), 42% from the line (10-of-24) and had 21 turnovers and 16 steals in the game.

Stanley-Boyd 67, SV 32
It all came crashing back for the Cardinals on the road last weekend, where Valley struggled to contain Arianna Mason of S-B. Mason ran all over the Cardinals for 31 points, nearly outscoring Valley on her own. Marissa Gustafson had 13 points to help the Orioles to the win as well.

The Cardinals had three players each score six points, Bune, Johansen and sophomore Larissa Stark, who also had five rebounds.

Valley shot just 22% from the floor (11-of-50) and committed 30 turnovers in the game. The Orioles shot 48% from the floor (21-of-44) and had 12 steals.

The Cardinals now stand with a 1-8 overall record, 1-4 in conference play. Valley played at Boyceville this past Tuesday and will host Glenwood City tomorrow (Friday) night. The Cardinals also host Independence on Monday and travel to Colfax next Thursday, January 17.