Lady Hilltoppers knock off conference leading Mounders; shackle Pirates
The Glenwood City girls basketball team picked up a couple of wins last week including a crucial road victory against conference leading Elk Mound.
The Lady Hilltoppers rallied for a 48-44 win over the Mounders last Thursday. Glenwood City tuned up for that showdown with a 53-21 non-conference home win over Grantsburg two days prior.
After beating the defending Dunn-St. Croix Conference champion Colfax Vikings for the first time since 2006 a week earlier, the Glenwood City Hilltopper girls’ basketball team added another huge win to their resume when they knocked off the only undefeated team left in the conference, the Elk Mound Mounders Jan. 21.
In the game played before a large crowd in Elk Mound, the Toppers kept their poise late in the game after falling behind by eight points and pulled off a 48-44 win to put themselves in a tie for second place in conference play at 6-2.
“Our girls have been working hard the past few years to be able to win games like this,” Toppers’ coach Justin Kuehndorf said. “It was a big win for our program but we still have a lot of the season left.”
After falling behind 4-0, Gabby Peterson drained a trey to put the Toppers on the board.
Rachel Klatt began her dominance in the paint soon after with the first of four buckets.
Both teams employed full court presses which resulted in turnovers on both sides and when the Mounders did get shots off, they were off the mark resulting in Klatt pulling down the rebound. In fact, Klatt snagged the defensive rebound on three straight Mounder misses, then put the Toppers up on another bucket 7-6.
Elk Mound scored on a fast break but Klatt added another deuce and with a Peterson steal which led to a layup by Morgan Kadinger, the Toppers were up 11-8.
After allowing the Mounders to knot it up, Maya Petersen hit a free throw for Glenwood but the Mounders added their own to make it 12-12.
The pace picked up when the Toppers went on an eight-point run with Peterson canning another trey, Janesa Klinger and Klatt both scoring from the paint and another Maya Petersen free toss led to a 20-12 Topper advantage.
The Mounders scored on their next two possessions however and the Topper lead was just 20-17 at the intermission.
“We built ourselves a lead there but Elk Mound forced us into some turnovers and took advantage of them,” Kuehndorf said. “I told the girls at halftime Elk Mound was going to have their scoring runs because they have good shooters but we just had to play our game and weather the storm when that happened,” he added.
Elk Mound tied it up 20-20 early in the second half before Klatt nailed a free throw. Mariah Voeltz then came up with her only points of the contest with a pair of free tosses to make it 23-22 for Glenwood. Gabby Peterson then slid behind the defense for a fast break layup and Becca Moll dropped in a free throw for a 26-22 Topper lead.
Glenwood turned the ball over which resulted in a Mounder bucket but the Mounders committed their seventh team foul with 11:47 left in the game. After Elk Mound pulled ahead 27-26 on a triple, Gabby Peterson found nothing but net on two free throws to put her team back up 28-27.
And then the storm Kuehndorf talked about earlier hit shore, or in this case the Elk Mound gym when the Mounders pulled ahead 36-28 on a three-point shot and some deuces coming off Topper turnovers.
At this point, the Elk Mound fans were thinking their team had finally taken control, and even the Channel 13 news reporter was beginning to pack things up for the night. But this Topper team has a lot more confidence in themselves this year and with 8:14 left, Maya Petersen dropped in a free throw, Klatt stole the ball under the Elk Mound basket and started a fast break with Kadinger nailing a trey.
A determined Klatt drove around Mounder post player McKenna McVey for a deuce and the Toppers were down just 36-35.
Elk Mound decided to slow things down and perhaps tire the Glenwood City girls out by passing around the perimeter for over a minute. The strategy worked as Allie Weber hit an open triple from the top of the circle for a 39-35 Mounder lead.
But Klatt went back to work and scored on consecutive possessions to knot things up at 39-39 with 5:00 left.
Elk Mound went with their stall tactic again, and after almost a minute with the ball, Sarah Winchester hit a triple that bounced off the rim and into the basket for a 42-39 lead.
After the Mounders missed a free throw, Klinger found an open bank in Elk Mound and scored off the glass, and Maya Petersen went to the foul line for a one and one. After making the first one, the second one went off the rim and the Mounders failed to box Klatt out. Klatt snared the rebound and put it in the hoop to tie the game at 44-44.
The Mounders missed yet another shot and Kadinger grabbed the ball and zipped a pass to Klinger who scored the go ahead bucket on a layup.
With 3.6 seconds left, the Mounders had a chance to tie it at the charity stripe but two missed free throws, the second on purpose to try and get a rebound, resulted in a lane violation by the Mounders and Klatt finished off the win with two free throws.
“That showed a lot of our team’s character to come back after falling behind,” Kuehndorf said. “We hit shots when we needed them and blocked out to get rebounds. We hustled the whole game and good things happened because of it.”
Klatt scored a game-high 19 points while Gabby Peterson scored 10, Klinger 6, Kadinger and Maya Petersen five each, Voeltz two and Moll one. McVey, the Mounders’ leading scorer with a 13 point average was held to eight points in the game. The Toppers were 7 for 15 from the foul line while the Mounders were 13 for 20.
The Toppers’ full-court defensive pressure created several first-half turnovers and offensive opportunities when they welcomed the visiting Grantsburg Pirates Tuesday, January 19.
And Glenwood City took advantage of most of those opportunities.
The Hilltoppers put the game out of reach early as they built a 39-11 halftime lead on their way to routing the Pirates 53-21 in non-conference action.
“We were able to get off to a quick start offensively,” said Kuehndorf. “We scored off turnovers created by our defensive pressure and set the tone of the game early.”
Gabby Peterson, who led the Toppers with 20 points, scored 12 in the opening 18 minutes of play.
She got plenty of help from her teammates.
Rachel Klatt knocked down four baskets in the first half for eight of her ten points. Morgan Kadinger, Maya Petersen and Moriah Voeltz scored all their points in the first half. Kadinger tallied seven, Petersen six and Voeltz four.
Second half scoring was limited as the teams combined for just 24 total points with the Toppers netting 14 and the Pirates ten.
Gabby Peterson continued to carried the offensive banner with four second-half buckets. Jenesa Klinger added another and two free throws as Glenwood City won by 32 points.
Cassidy Lee and Olivia Tucker had 17 of the Pirates 21 points with nine and eight respectively.
“Grantsburg has some good athletes but we were able to limit their scoring opportunities,” Kuehndorf concluded.
Glenwood City has a pair of home games this week. The Toppers hosted Elmwood/Plum City was last evening (January 26) and will welcome Spring Valley on Friday, January 29.
They begin a two-game road swing with a non-conference contest at St. Croix Central next Monday, Feb. 1.