Hilltopper boys fall to Osceola, Ellsworth in back to back holiday tournament games
by Laura Giammattei
GLENWOOD CITY — The Hilltoppers continue to seek their first win after two consecutive losses against the Osceola Chieftains and the Ellsworth Panthers during the Glenwood City Classic holiday tournament on December 28 and 29.
The Glenwood City boys’ varsity team first took on the Osceola Chieftains on Monday, December 28, where they struggled on both the offensive and defensive ends, resulting in a 40-70 loss.
The first half began with Osceola winning the initial game jump ball and immediately driving in for an aggressive one handed slam dunk, setting the pace for the rest of the first half. From there, the Toppers were unable to stop Osceola junior Ethan Ellingsworth from raining down an impressive four three-point shots. Senior Tucker Hazzard also added a combined five field goals and layups, which pulled Osceola substantially ahead early in the game.
The Toppers were only able to score 13 points to Osceola’s 37 by the end of the first half. Senior Nathan Mrdutt led scoring for his team in the first half with five points coming from two layups and connected on one of his two free throws.
The second half faired much better for the Toppers, as they doubled their own score from the first half, but were still unable to stop Osceola from scoring another 35 points.
Sophomore Riley Schutz ended the night with the most points for his team, scoring ten total points including just one field goal in the first half, but was able to connect two three point shots and another field goal in the second. Freshman Dillon Hierlmeier followed closely behind with nine points, all in the second half, which included one three point shot, a field goal, and he also sank four of his seven free throw attempts.
Coach Tristan Kittilson commented on the game: “It was a tough game, we still have a long way to go in a lot of different areas. I thought we finished the game playing better and we did some nice things coming down the stretch to end the game strong, so I’d like to build on that and be ready for the game tomorrow against Ellsworth.”
Despite the 30 point loss, the Toppers held their heads high and played a much better offensive game against the Ellsworth Panthers in their second holiday tournament game the following day on Tuesday, December 29.
Though the Toppers fell to Ellsworth, 53-69, their offensive production improved significantly, with nearly half of their points coming from Riley Schutz. Schutz racked up five total three pointers and five field goals for a total of 25 of the Toppers’ 53 points.
Glenwood City came up with the first bucket of the game and held control, keeping Ellsworth scoreless for the first six minutes of regulation. Ellsworth countered by pushing a full court press, which caused Glenwood a number of turnovers and began a four minute dry streak.
Towards the end of the first half, Schutz picked up offensive production again and rode a team drive, scoring fifteen consecutive points, which ended the four minute dry streak for the Toppers. Though they started and ended the first half strong, too many turnovers mid-half left them trailing at halftime, 24-36.
The second half began shakily for the Hilltoppers, as they turned the ball over too often and allowed Ellsworth an unanswered ten points. Senior Nick Schone ended their streak by sinking a three pointer jumper from the deep corner. He went on to score a similar basket and a field goal to add eight points for his team.
Though Glenwood held their own offensively and scored 29 points in the second half, Ellsworth was in control in the last remaining minutes of the game, forcing Glenwood City into a series of fouls, which led to one player fouling out of the game and two others coming close. As a result, Glenwood City was unable to stop Ellsworth from scoring, and their opponent pulled ahead to win by 16.
The Glenwood City Hilltoppers prepare to face the Spooner Rails in an away game on Tuesday, January 5 with tipoff at 7:15 p.m., where they will attempt to obtain their first win this season.