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Learning and winning: Ethan girls on 12-game winning streak

ETHAN -- No seniors has been no problem for the Ethan girls basketball team. After returning just one starter from last year's third-place team, Ethan was planning for a season of learning. But in the rebuilding season, there's also been plenty o...

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Ethan's Maddie Miiller goes up for a layup during a high school girls basketball game against Bridgewater-Emery earlier this year at the Corn Palace. (Eric Mayer / Republic)

ETHAN - No seniors has been no problem for the Ethan girls basketball team.

After returning just one starter from last year's third-place team, Ethan was planning for a season of learning. But in the rebuilding season, there's also been plenty of winning.

After suffering a 21-point loss to Hanson in the season opener, the Rustlers have gone 17-1 and the team is currently riding a 12-game win streak heading into today's clash against Tripp-Delmont/Armour at 6:30 p.m. at the Corn Palace.

Ethan head coach Tom Young said his team has started to come together and added he likes the Rustlers' grit.

"It doesn't seem like we ever have a pretty win," Young said. "We're still going through some youth growing pains. Our best is still to come, whether it's this year or in the coming years."

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Regardless how today's game goes, the Rustlers will be the second seed in the Region 4B tournament and they're eyeing a high seed in the Round of 16. Ethan's winning formula has been the same as previous seasons - keep opponents off the scoreboard. The Rustlers are allowing an average of 31.2 points per game.

"Night in and night out, our defense is there to keep us in the game," Young said. "We have a lot of room for improvement. We have to take care of the ball better and communicate better, but our effort and our determination has been consistent all year."

Junior Karly Gustafson, who was named to the Class B all-state second team last year, has been Ethan's steady leader. The 6-foot center surpassed 1,000 career points earlier this year and has scored in double figures in her last 10 games, including 33 points against Canistota on Jan. 22. Alongside Gustafson, freshman Cameryn Logan and sophomore Jessica Bartscher have provided plenty of scoring. Logan poured in 21 points and Bartscher added 16 points and 10 assists in Ethan's 67-46 win over Mount Vernon/Plankinton on Feb. 9.

"Our level of poise has improved," Young said. "Our freshmen and sophomores are more like sophomores and juniors. It's been a new experience for our whole team."

Despite the high level of turnover, Ethan has found its stride and will look to make its fourth consecutive Class B state tournament. Young noted today's game against TDA will be a good primer for what the Rustlers will see in the postseason.

"That game will let us know where we are at," Young said. "Tripp-Delmont/Armour is a state-tournament caliber team and they have a very experienced lineup compared to ours. It'll be a real good test for us."

Related Topics: ETHANGIRLS BASKETBALL
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