Maquoketa Valley’s boys basketball team opened the second half of its season with a 55-48 road victory over Starmont, Jan. 4, improving to 7-3 on the year.

The Stars (0-9) entered the game winless, and winless they remained despite the fact that they actually outscored their visitors, 16-12, in the opening quarter. The Wildcats responded with 19 points to Starmont’s 10 in the second quarter to enter halftime with the 31-26 advantage.

Each team scored eight points in the third before playing a very tight final quarter that MV ultimately made their own thanks largely to sophomore Andrew Holtz’s hefty 29 point contribution.

“Our guys continued to fight for all four quarters and came out on top,” Wildcat coach Eric Conner said. “We had a bit of a sluggish start to the second half of the season, defensively, but this is something that we are going to continue to work on in practice and look to get better at as we progress. Holtz had a great game for us, and he got a little bit of a taste of the scorer that he can be.”

Holtz, Brian Heims and Owen Menson paced one another with three rebounds each, with the former also adding two steals. Blake Becker added seven points and Menson put up six.

That trio, plus Zach Lansing and AJ Ambundo, all drained a three-pointer apiece as the Wildcats went five-for-nine from behind the arc and compiled a field goal percentage of 56.3 percent to Starmont’s 44 percent.

The Stars still secured several other statistical leads, including rebounding (22-18), and points-off-turnovers (12-6). The latter could be traced back to MV turning the ball over 13 times, but the unit still managed to come out unscathed.

“We will look to carry some of the positives from our game on Friday into next week and look to improve on some of our fundamentals that we continue to talk about in practice,” Conner said of the Wildcats’ strategy going forward.