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Glenwood City boys’ basketball team inch closer to their first win of the season, but fall short to Spooner and Mondovi

By: Laura Giammattei

GLENWOOD CITY — The Hilltopper boys’ varsity basketball team returned from the holiday break to play two games: the first, an away game in Spooner on Tuesday, January 5, and second, a home game on Friday, January 8th against Mondovi. Although the boys showed improvement, they fell to both of their opponents.

In the first competition, despite leading Spooner nearly the entire game, the Hilltoppers were unable to hold that lead in the last moments which resulted in a devastating one-point loss for the Toppers, with a final score of 30-31.

The Spooner Rails managed to frustrate and exhaust the Toppers defense by holding the ball for extremely long offensive possessions which left the Toppers with little energy to put points on the board after regaining the ball.

Glenwood City held Spooner to a mere nine points in the first half but only managed to squeeze out just one more basket than their opponent. They fared much better in the second half with nineteen points, nearly doubling their score from the first half. However, they allowed Spooner to more than double their own score, which led to the game’s unfortunate end.

Freshman Dillon Hierlmeier led the team by contributing one-third of the Toppers’ total points, including two 2-point shots, one three point shot and he also connected on all three of his attempts at the free throw line. Senior Nathan Mrdutt followed closely behind with eight points, all from layups or short jump shots from the paint.

On the other end of the court, senior Brant Osterhues and junior Sam Dettle scored the majority of the Spooner Rails’ buckets with a combined twenty points at ten a piece, all coming from two-pointers and free throws. Their strategy to hold offensive possession against the Hilltoppers ended up working in their favor, despite not producing points from many of their extended possessions and often turning the ball over.

Hilltopper coach, Tristan Kittilson comments on the game: “It was a very tough, low scoring game that came down to the last second and unfortunately, we were not able to make the plays needed to win the game. I thought we played well enough to win, but there were too many self inflicted turnovers and fouls that cost us the game.”

With such a close near first win of the season, the Hilltoppers had to refocus to take on the Mondovi Buffaloes a few days later on Friday, January 8, where they experienced another loss at home with a final score of 51-35.

The Toppers started the game with senior Joel Ormson putting his team on the board first with an effortless layup, only to be answered by a three-point shot from the Buffaloes. Senior Nick Schone also contributed a three-point bucket early in the first half.

The game continued somewhat slowly and the Toppers managed to stifle the Buffalo offense, resulting in Mondovi leading by only one at the half 19-18. However, Mondovi senior, Blake Purdy, was unable to be contained for long by Glenwood City as he was allowed five two-point shots in the first half and an additional eight in the second, many of which were produced from breakaway layups. As a result, he scored roughly half of Mondovi’s points.

For Glenwood City, the offense toggled baskets between Ormson and Mrdutt for the rest of the first half, which included a layup off a smooth transition steal from Mrdutt. Impressively, he went on to execute the same play twice again in the second half. He had a strong game overall and finished with eleven points, leading the team.

Dillon Hierlmeier also demonstrated improvement by successfully distributing the ball well in both halves, which led to several of the Toppers’ baskets. He also contributed three two-point buckets and connected on three of his four shots from the free throw line.

The second half was controlled primarily by the Buffaloes and they managed to pull ahead by a larger margin, leading to their sixteen point victory against the Toppers.

Coach Kittilson comments on the Mondovi game: “It was another hard fought game and at times we played the best basketball we had all season, which was a very big step forward for us! Unfortunately, in the second half, we didn’t execute as well and our shots didn’t connect, while Mondovi’s did, and that ended up being the difference for this game.”

The Glenwood City boys traveled to play against the Somerset Spartans yesterday evening, January 12, and will continue on the road to take on the Durand Panthers on Thursday evening, January 14.