The Prescott Cardinals went 1-1 last week, beating the New Richmond Tigers at home on Tuesday by a score of 64-38 and then coming up short in an away game on Thursday against the Altoona Railroaders …
The Prescott Cardinals went 1-1 last week, beating the New Richmond Tigers at home on Tuesday by a score of 64-38 and then coming up short in an away game on Thursday against the Altoona Railroaders 42-39.
After rattling off six straight wins and winning eight of their last nine, the streak came to an end for the Cardinals in Altoona on Thursday night, losing a heartbreaker to the Railroaders. It was a defensive game throughout that ended in a one score loss that drops their Middle Border season record to 8-2. Prescott is still in first place in the conference, but they now share that spot with Baldwin-Woodville who won their conference game last week.
Head Coach Owen Hamilton says the game was everything they thought it would be going in, and he thinks they executed exactly what they worked on all week.
“They had six three-pointers in the first half. We dared them to heat us on the three and they did. It sucks, but you live with the gameplan, and at this point, you just hope you see them again. They had a 25% shooter go 4-4, and that’s something you just can’t plan for,” Hamilton said. “Our gameplay was pretty close to what we wanted, our offense just faltered a little bit, and ultimately, it came down to a one possession game that could’ve went either way.”
Coach Hamilton says they just need to play their game down the stretch, and the rest will take care of itself.
“We’ve been so prepared for all our games, and we’ve proven we can win the close ones lately,” Hamilton said. “I think we can handle our business and do what’s expected of us. At the end of the day, we control our own destiny, and that’s all we can ask for.”
Up next for the red birds is a two-step of Middle Border opponents as they enter the final two weeks of regular season play. First, they have a home game against the Amery Warriors on Tuesday, and then they have a road game against their first-place counterpart in what figures to be the most hyped game of the season when they travel to Baldwin on Friday to play the Blackhawks. Both games will tipoff at 7 p.m.
Winning this pair of games would place them alone in first place going into the final week of the season. As Coach Hamilton said, the Cardinals control their own destiny in their hunt for a five-peat of MBC Championships.
Ellsworth beats Mondovi, loses at BW
The Ellsworth Panthers went 1-1 last week defeating the Mondovi Buffaloes on Tuesday in Ellsworth by a score of 56-33 and then losing a road game to the Baldwin-Woodville Blackhawks on Friday 53-41.
It was a good week of basketball for the Panthers even with the loss to first place Baldwin. They came out of the gate hot and beat the Buffaloes by over 20 points.
Ava Brookshaw provided an offensive shot in the arm on this night, as she drained three consecutive three-pointers at one point and helped to stake the Panthers a 24-13 halftime lead.
Brookshaw was not done, as she added eight more second half points, and Maria Harrington went 4 for 5 from the free throw line when the Buffaloes attempted to foul late to get back in the game. The Ellsworth defense took care of the rest, as Molly Janke and Kayla Kressin dominated the boards in the 56-33 Ellsworth win.
The Baldwin game didn’t go as well for the Panthers. After fighting to a 21-all tie after one half, the Blackhawks slowly pulled away. This was partly done on the strength of shooting 27 second-half free throws in a hard-fought game that finished with a final score of 53-41.
Harrington and Janke sparked the Panthers early on, accounting for 15 of their first-half points. Baldwin-Woodville stuck in their attacking zone defense in the second half. Meanwhile, Ellsworth could not find any consistent answers in the second half, and they made the mistake of sending the Blackhawks to the foul line too many times for any chance of a comeback.
The Panthers finished the game shooting 10-16 from the free throw line, while Baldwin was 15-32. The Blackhawks maintained a share of the Middle Border Conference lead with the win, and Ellsworth drops into a tie with Somerset, each with a 5-5 record in the conference.
Head Coach Jason Janke says that they’ve had many different kids step up with big plays and big performances overall in the past four games, now they just need to do these things more regularly.
“We just couldn't get anything consistently going on offense against Baldwin, and you have to give them credit, their kids played a solid 36:00. I don't remember a spot where they had much for a letdown, and we had a few. We didn't play poorly, we just didn't shoot very well, and it's not enough against a league-leading team,” Janke said. “When we can be as balanced as we were against Mondovi, we're a really good team. Now, we just need a little more consistency with these kinds of nights, and we'll really grow as a team.”
Coach Janke also notes that as the postseason approaches, they hope to improve their offensive efficiency and continue to rebound very well on both ends. He says that will be the focus going into the last two weeks.
The Panthers now have just four games left of the regular season which they will play almost entirely at home. Ellsworth will play nothing but Middle Border teams during the home stretch as Mondovi was their last non-conference game of the season. Even without the real possibility of a MBC championship yet this season, all four of these remaining games will figure into the seeding for the postseason and remain very important.
This week will be a two-step of home games, starting on Tuesday when they host the Somerset Spartans and finishing on Thursday when the Osceola Chieftains come to town. Both of these games will tip off at 7:15 p.m.
SV boys win 2 conference games
The Spring Valley Cardinals won both their games last week, beating the Glenwood City Hilltoppers on the road by a score of 61-39 and then returning home to defeat the Colfax Vikings 61-43.
It was a couple of big margin wins for the Cardinals against two good Dunn-St. Croix teams who will likely finish in the top half of the conference.
Cade Stasiek did what he’s been doing all season, averaged 20 points a game while converting on 12 of 13 opportunities from the line this week.
Masyn Wolf also had a nice week, averaging double digit points in addition to his ever-present production in the rebound game. Finally, Caleb Bartko and Kaden Robelia each had strong contributing performances that helped to lead Spring Valley to a pair of important victories.
Head Coach Rob Bosshart believes their full team effort has been the harbinger of their success this season.
“Of course, a lot of attention goes to the leading scorers, but I think we’ve been winning games because of our team defense. We’ve had stretches in games where we’ve struggled to score, but we’ve been able to weather those droughts with good solid defense on the other end,” Bosshart said. “As we get into the home stretch of the season, I think we need to continue improving our offensive efficiency. We can’t afford to have as many stretches where we don’t score or are forced into tough shots.”
While there are always ways teams can improve, considering Spring Valley’s success this year, it’s more about cleaning up the small things so they can finish out the season strong and go into the playoffs in peak form.
The Cardinals have now won five in a row and nine of their last 10 games. With these wins, the perennial contenders advance to 9-1 in the conference, 15-4 overall this season and they control their own destiny as they seek to win a Dunn-St Croix Championship for the first time since the 2020/2021 season.
Next up for Spring Valley is their last non-conference game of the season when they host the Turtle Lake Lakers on Monday. After that, they will travel to Mondovi to play the Buffaloes on Thursday. Both games tip off at 7:15 p.m.
EPC Wolves go 1-1
The Elmwood-Plum City Wolves went 1-1 in their games this week, first defeating the Mondovi Buffaloes at home by a score of 58-53 and then losing to the Durand-Arkansaw Panthers 71-46.
It was a productive week of basketball for the Wolves despite the loss as they snapped a three-game losing streak with a solid win against the Buffaloes before coming up short against the firstt place Panthers.
Lucas Glaus was the player of the week, scoring a double-double against Mondovi and 37 points overall to go along with 18 rebounds and a half dozen assists. Blake Allen and Brewer Link each had strong individual performances as Allen scored 17 against the Buffaloes and Link came up just shy of a double-double against Durand.
While a conference championship may not be in the cards for the Wolves this year, the postseason is right around the corner.
Head Coach Kyle Webb says he enjoyed seeing how his team kept grinding this past week and came away with the victory against the Buffaloes.
“The win against Mondovi came from being tough and playing through adversity. On the other hand, our free throw shooting can improve, but that is something we work on at every practice,” Webb said. “As we approach the playoffs, I think the biggest thing for us to focus on is the fact that we could make a good playoff run if we play team basketball. I truly believe that if we play as a team, we can make some good things happen for us and for our communities.”
Up next for Elmwood-Plum City as they enter their final three weeks of the regular season is an away game at Eau Claire Immanuel Lutheran on Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. before returning home to play Boyceville on Thursday at 7:15 p.m.