Boys basketball: Blue Devils can't contain Spring Valley
PLUM CITY -- If only the Plum City boys basketball team could have played all four quarters the same way it did the second quarter -- where the Blue Devils outscored Spring Valley 20-9 and held the Cardinals' leading scorer, Corey Blaedorn, to just two points. But Blaedorn was unleashed in the second half to score 21 of his game-high 31 points in at 77-73 Spring Valley win Thursday.
Blue Devil head coach Wayne Radle said his ballclub didn't do anything special to keep Blaedorn in check in the second quarter.
"We did switch to a man-to-man defense, but nothing more than that," Radle said. "I think it was more of what they weren't doing which was feeding him the ball and that was good for us. He's tough to defend. He's got good post moves and uses the glass very well."
Plum City jumped out an 11-2 lead early in the ballgame. After the Cardinals came back to take the lead early in the second, the Devils outscored Spring Valley 17-9 to lead at halftime.
But in the second half, the Cardinals dominated the glass, getting many second and third shots off rebounds which helped them grab a 52-44 advantage after a 14-4 run. Blaedorn had several of those put backs.
"We harp on and we harp on it as coaches to box out and rebound," Radle said. "Now that our players have seen how the game was affected by our lack of rebounding, maybe they'll know we're not just wasting our breaths.
"You can't give a team with as many scorers as they have second and third chances at the basket."
Despite being outrebounded, being outshot in three-pointers made by a 7-2 margin and free-throws made 22-13, Plum City went down to the wire with the Cardinals.
Baskets by Logan Radle and Zach Gilles kept the score close throughout the fourth quarter. The closest was one-point down (70-69) after a pair of free-throws by Radle. But Blaedorn responded by making five free-throws in the last 1:23.
Besides Blaedorn, teammate Tyler Bosshart scored 18 points and Dylan Webster scored 13 points. Plum City had Radle's 24 points and 18 from Gilles, but no one else hit double figures other than Alex Hartung's 11 points.
Finding a consistent third scorer could help Plum City in the tight ballgames they've been in the past two weeks.
"You see how hard Spring Valley is to defend with three players in double figures and they've got more than that," Radle said. "Logan and Zach have been pretty consistent scorers for us but if we can develop a consistent third scorer over these next eight games and into regionals, it will be a big benefit."
Spring Valley improved to 6-6 overall and 6-4 in the Dunn-St. Croix. Plum City dropped to 5-7 overall and 5-6 in the league. The Blue Devils face rival Pepin on the road Tuesday.