VOLGA – The Sioux Valley girls’ basketball team got back on track Thursday night. The Cossacks had lost two-straight games, but snapped the small losing streak with a 50-33 win over McCook Central/Montrose.
“I really liked the way we played tonight,” said Sioux Valley head coach Jamie Granum. “We were as poised as a team as I’ve seen in my five years here. We were that poised with the basketball.”
MCM led 12-11 at the end of the first quarter. The Cossacks then outscored the Fighting Cougars 13-8 in the second quarter to take a 24-20 lead into the locker room.
Sioux Valley put the clamps on defensively in the third quarter. The Cossacks held the Cougars to just five points in the third and scored 17 themselves. They led 41-25 heading into the final quarter.
Granum said he put on a full court press in the second half because his team wanted to speed the game up.
“We went in to halftime thinking about the three banked in three’s that they had in that first half to cut it to four. … We wanted to speed the game up. We think, if you can’t get a steal, get a tip or touch. Those eventually wear team’s down. Just seeing that press come at you with a great athlete at the front of it and then behind [the front] we have some really good basketball players that can play in space. They’re picking up eyes, they’re anticipating well. It’s a work in progress,” Granum said.
The Cossacks outscored the Cougars 10-8 in the final frame and improved to 6-2 on the season.
Isabelle Bloker led the Cossacks with 17 points. Reagan Johnson had 15 points, six rebounds and four steals. Jada Knutson had seven points.
Granum said Johnson played a big part in the defense success Sioux Valley had on Thursday night.
“When you have a piece on your team like Reagan Johnson, you can’t hide her very far away from the ball because she’s that valuable. We want her at all three levels of our defense, but she can only play one at a time. We knew that as she goes, we go offensively. Her energy, her effort, her enthusiasm. She’s kind of the total package when it comes to intangables,” he said.
Carly Katzer led MCM with 11 points. Michaela McCormick had nine points. Brandy Pulse had six points.
Official turnover stats were unavailable, but MCM had problems with Sioux Valley’s press in the second half. On the flip side, Granum said he believes this was the best his team has taken care of the basketball in five years.
“I think we had a season-low or five-year low of turnovers tonight. We counted six. So we did really, really well with the basketball. You give us a chance with those extra possessions and how well we can score, it’s a matter of time. We transition well, one of the best transition teams in the state and teams have to prepare for that,” Granum said.
Sioux Valley’s has two games next week. The Cossacks will play 2-8 Chester Area on Tuesday and 1-9 Dell Rapids on Friday. Granum said that his team is playing well, but they are not at the point where they can overlook team’s.
“We’ve been practicing really well. Just being around this long, I know that if you practice well, you play well. So going into this game I loved how we practiced. … Where our program was and where it’s at now, we don’t take any team lightly regardless of records. We’re just not yet there as a program to get off the bus and say we’re going to win. And then you factor in girls basketball in general, where all great teams are searching for consistency. That’s where we need to grow as team. Be more consistent, but the one thing that is consistent is their effort,” he said.