Posted 2/1/22

From Sports Page 20 they took a 35-14 lead into the halftime intermission. Spring Valley’s 14 points came primarily from sophomore guard Mara Ducklow, who had 11 of the team’s 14. Coach Hoolihan …

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From Sports Page 20

they took a 35-14 lead into the halftime intermission. Spring Valley’s 14 points came primarily from sophomore guard Mara Ducklow, who had 11 of the team’s 14. Coach Hoolihan spoke about Ducklow and what she does for the team.

“She’s just a multi-dimensional player for us,” Hoolihan said. “She’s played the one, the two, the three and the four positions for us this year. She hasn’t played the five yet. She’s got a lot of weight on her shoulders as a sophomore.”

Ducklow’s play in the first half was the primary reason that the Cardinals even had a chance going into the second half of action. Coming out of the break, she picked up right where she left off and hit a three-pointer to make it 35-17.

Despite Ducklow and Spring Valley’s efforts, the Elmwood/ Plum City offense was too much to contain. The scoring of Glaus, McDonough, as well as junior Hannah Forster, was the driving factor in the Wolves’ 64-30 victory over Spring Valley. Glaus finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds, Mc-Donough tallied 13 points and three rebounds and Forster had 15 points and grabbed six boards.

After the game, Elmwood/Plum City head coach Adam Sticht spoke about the performance of Glaus, who is the driving force behind the Wolves’ offense on a nightly basis.

“Lately we’ve been working with Maggie (Glaus) on trying to open up the floor for everyone else,” Sticht said. “One thing we noticed tonight was when we put her in the high post, it opens up the bottom for everybody. She’s a selfless player and when it comes time for her to open things up for us, she’s willing to do that.”

Glaus’ vision in the post was part of the reason that the Wolves’ offense was rolling throughout the game. She was able to find open teammates and distribute the ball well. Elmwood/ Plum City was making the extra pass and in doing so, got more open looks and made them in critical situations.

“As of late, we’ve been working hard on moving the ball,” Sticht said. “We tell them that if you’re holding the ball, you’re letting the defense get set. They know that they’re either going to shoot, drive to the hole, or keep moving it. We know that when we get good movement and can get to the basket, good things are going to happen.”

With the win, the Wolves improved to 9-6 overall and 4-3 in conference action. Unfortunately for Elmwood/Plum City, the Dunn-St. Croix Conference has some of the best basketball teams on the western side of the state in the conference. Those teams include Colfax, which is 8-1 in the conference, Elk Mound, also 8-1 in conference games, and Durand, which is 7-1 and has won six straight interconference games. According to Sticht, he’s happy with where his team is at considering the strength of the conference.

“We do like where we’re at,” Sticht said. “We’ve got Glenwood City on Friday; we’ve beaten them once already this year. We’ve got Mondovi coming up, that’s a good check to see where we’re at in the season. I think it’s an opportunity our girls are looking forward to. It’s a good way to see how much we’ve grown. We’ve got some games that we feel like are winnable for us.”

Sticht also stated that by getting on a roll against some of these teams and stringing wins together, they will have some momentum going into the remaining games against Colfax, Durand and Elk Mound in the closing weeks of the season.

While Elmwood/Plum City is on the rise, Spring Valley has hit its roughest patch of the season, which includes eight games in a row between Thursday, Jan. 6, and Tuesday, Jan. 25. Before that stretch, Spring Valley was 5-4 for the season. After the loss against the Wolves, coach Hoolihan provided an instant reaction to the game.

“I thought they played really tough tonight, I give them credit,” Hoolihan said. “In the paint, Maggie (Glaus) can play really well. We tried to mix it up and be physical with her. She did a really nice job, and their guards did a nice job of passing her the ball. We’ve got things we need to work on.”

Despite the approximate month of struggles for Hoolihan’s Cardinals, he was quick to speak about what a great group of girls he has that continuously show up to work hard, regardless of the numbers in the win and loss columns.

“I love this group,” Hoolihan said. “They come to work every day, they work hard, we’ve just got to start putting stuff together in these games.”

Early in the season, Spring Valley saw success. They had a winning record in the opening month of the season, and it looked like they had a team that could do some damage in the conference standings. Now, after the aforementioned rough patch, Hoolihan said the team needs a change in mentality to turn the season around.

“Early on this season I thought we had a different mindset, that’s the way we all felt,” Hoolihan said. “For this stretch in January, it seems like that mindset hasn’t been there. We’ve played some really good teams, too. Some teams that we should be competing better with in the last couple of games. The one thing I know about this group is that they’re not going to quit. We’ll keep going to work every day and hope that some things get clicking.”

Part of the reason for Spring Valley’s struggles has been injuries to multiple important players on the roster. Throughout the dry spell, freshman forward Halle Thomas, sophomore forward Charli Vanasse and senior guard Lilly Ninneman have all missed time. They are three players who regularly get important minutes and without them, the Cardinals have been depleted. Hoolihan provided a look-ahead for the coming weeks of the season and the playoffs.

“Hopefully some things can start clicking and we can start to get healthy,” Hoolihan said. “Hopefully when tournament time comes around, we’re at our best, that’s always the goal and if this rocky road is something for us to plow through and be there at the end, then that’s OK. But we’ve got to have a different mindset.”

The next game on the schedule for Spring Valley is on Thursday, Feb. 3, on the road against Glenwood City. That game will begin at 7:15 p.m. As for Elmwood/Plum City, their next game is on Thursday, Feb. 3, at home against Mondovi. That game is also a 7:15 p.m. tip-off.