The Prescott Cardinals turned a page in their season after their 71-70 loss to the St. Croix Central Panthers on Tuesday, Jan. 8.
“After our loss at SCC, our practices were a turning point,” Prescott’s head coach Nick Johnson. “We started over defensively, and our players realized the things that need to be changed if we ever want to reach our potential.
So far, said “turning point” has resulted in a five-game winning streak for the Cardinals who are now 11-4 overall and 6-3 in Middle Border Conference play. The Cardinals’ latest addition to their win streak came on Friday, Feb. 1, when they claimed an 82-51 road win over the shorthanded Somerset Spartans (7-9, 3-6).
“We feel we continue to move in the right direction which is extremely important at this time of the year,” Johnson said. “Committing ourselves on the defensive end of the floor is the big reason for this.”
The Cardinals’ basketball IQ has also significantly improved according to Johnson who said court smarts has been an issue for his team at times. The team’s decision making struggles have dwindled as players have begun to understand and accept their new roles, Johnson added.
Yet, the Cardinals will have to continue to make strides in the final stretch of their regular season if they want to make waves late in the month and into March.
“We have to keep improving and taking steps forward,” Johnson said. “We have a stretch of games coming up against some very good teams. This will be a good test for us.”
The Cardinals’ progress will be on display on Thursday, Feb. 7, when they get a rematch against SCC (7-7, 5-4) on their home court.
Elk Mound 62, Elmwood/Plum City 36
The Elmwood/Plum City Wolves recorded 26 turnovers in their Friday, Feb. 1, loss to the Elk Mound Mounders, setting themselves up for a 62-36 home loss.
The Wolves (5-11, 1-8) managed to double their first half scoring total in the second half as they put up 24 points in the final 18 minutes of play, but shot 31 percent from the field on the night while their guests shot 42 percent on the night.
EPC may have shot poorly as a team, but that wasn’t the case for senior co-captain Tyler Maxwell who led all scorers with 16 points on 4 of 8 shooting from the field and 8 of 10 shooting from behind the charity stripe. Maxwell also led the Wolves in assists with two dimes, while teammate Nic Forster was EPC’s leader on the boards with seven rebounds.
Marcus Kinblom, Ryan Bohl and Rian Flynn all reached double-digit scoring totals for the Mounders (7-8, 5-3) , and Kinblom led the way with 13 points.
EPC will face Colfax (14-1, 8-1) on the Vikings' home court on Thursday, Feb. 7.
Scoring for EPC: Maxwell 16; Zack Phillips 7; Jordan Brunner 5; Luke Webb 3; Robert Brunner, Forster 2; Noah Gansluckner 1
Durand 67, Spring Valley 50
The Spring Valley Cardinals felt the effects of an irregular school week on Friday, Feb. 1, when they dropped their second Dunn-St. Croix Conference loss of the season on their home court.
Spring Valley’s head coach Rob Bosshart told the Herald that his team needs to compete as hard as possible in order to have a fighting chance to win every contest they’re tested with.
The Cardinals failed to follow Bosshart’s advice Friday night.
The Durand Panthers earned a 67-50 victory over the Cardinals and showed few signs of regression while the Cardinals showed spurts of inconsistent offense.
“We've shown that we can compete with all of the teams in our league, but we need to develop more consistency on the offensive end of the court,” Bosshart said. “All of our guys have shown flashes of what they can contribute so now it is a matter of putting it all together in longer stretches, especially against the teams at the top of our league.”
The Cardinals will receive another chance to sharpen their offense on Thursday, Feb. 7, when they travel to Elk Mound to face the 7-8 Mounders.