Topper boys fall to Cadott and Durand despite offensive improvement
by Laura Giammattei
The Hilltopper boys can’t seem to catch a break this season, as they endured two more defeats last week at home against the Cadott Hornets and the Durand Panthers.
The Toppers took on the Cadott Hornets on Thursday, February 4 where they fell 61-43 in a non-conference tilt. Their downfall stemmed primarily from a lack of offensive execution and inconsistency on the defensive end.
Cadott’s offense started the game off strong, ending the first half with 25 points compared to Glenwood’s 15. Junior Bryce McChesney contributed many of the Hornet’s first half points with three arc buckets and he also connected on all three of his opportunities at the free throw line.
Despite a slow start to their own offense, Glenwood City also had some success at the arc. Seniors Nathan Mrdutt, Nick Schone and sophomore Riley Schutz each contributed one trey in the first half and both Mrdutt and Schone would go on to score a three-point bucket each in the second half as well. However, the Toppers’ two-point field goals and layups were poorly executed, which assisted in a 10 point deficit at the half.
The Toppers’s second half production improved greatly from the first, as freshman Tanner Davis stepped up and added nine points for the team. He banked one three-point shot and one bucket from under the net. He also connected on four of his five shots at the charity stripe.
Glenwood’s attempts to contain Chesney in the second half by fouling him backfired as he would not only make the basket but also successfully executed his shots at the free throw line. He ended the night with an impressive 31 points, nearly half of the Hornet’s total score.
The Toppers moved on from the loss against Cadott to compete against the Durand Panthers at home on Saturday, February 6, where they endured another 67-49 defeat.
The boys had a great start to the game, and led the Dunn-St. Croix conference second-place Panthers 8-0 in the first moments of regulation. Riley Schutz and Nathan Mrdutt each had an early arc bucket, while Schone contributed a layup. Meanwhile, Durand struggled to get the ball to drop, which gave Glenwood the opportunity to gain some ground and hold their early lead.
The Toppers were successful in holding that early lead for the majority of the first half. However, as the half progressed, Glenwood began to make mistakes. A series of Topper turnovers and fouls were met with transition steals by the Panthers which started to diminish Glenwood’s lead.
The remaining two minutes of the game proved very exciting, as both teams fought back and forth for the lead.
Durand’s first lead of the game occurred after senior Ben Weber was fouled and then connected on both his free-throws, bringing them up 26-25. Then, a Panther turnover resulted in a two-point turnaround bucket for Schutz, putting Glenwood up by one. Durand answered and then Schutz responded with another two points. Then, with 2.6 seconds remaining, Durand junior Reid Hansen put the Panthers up 31-29 before halftime with a clutch three-pointer.
Durand returned to the court with new energy and refused the Toppers any points for the first four minutes of the second half. Though the Toppers managed to contain their opponent at the arc, which they had been unable to do previously against the Panthers, they gifted them too many opportunities at the free throw line, which resulted in nearly half of the Panther’s points in the second half.
Panther senior, Logan Polzer led offensive production with a team high of 17 points. He accumulated six two-point shots from the field and also connected on five of his six shots from the free throw line. Weber also had a solid offensive game, finishing with 16 points. He shot well from the arc and connected on all eight of his opportunities at the free throw line.
On the other end of the court, Nathan Mrdutt ended the night with a team high of 14 points. He had a couple nice transition steals returned for layups and also dropped two shots from the arc. Riley Schutz also had a strong offensive game, adding 10 to the Toppers’ final score. He had good looks from the field, but struggled to connect on his free throws.
Glenwood City also welcomed back freshman Dillon Heirlmeier, who was off the court after sustaining a concussion a couple of weeks earlier. He returned to the court with strong presence and added 11 points for the team, mostly produced in the first half. He shot well from the paint and connected on both his free-throws. He went on to score just one more bucket from the arc in the second half.
Hilltopper head coach, Tristan Kittilson reflected on their losses last week, “It was a poor shooting night for us against Cadott. They played a match up zone which gave us a lot of problems and again just could not get the ball in the hoop. Defensively we had too many breakdowns and they shot the ball very well. We still made it a game, catching up within two points in the second half, but in the end, Cadott just made more plays and that was what put them ahead.”
He continued, “In Durand, we started the game the best we had all season coming out hitting three of our first four shots taking an 8-0 lead. We continued that great play throughout the first half, leading by double digits at times, but they finished the half strong making a deep three at the buzzer to take a two point lead. The second half was very different, unfortunately. We came out very cold and made some poor mistakes and Durand made us pay and never really looked back. We continued to battle and show great heart but just could not make enough plays and contain them enough to cut the lead and make a run for it. In the end I think it gave us some good things to continue to build on as we come down the home stretch of our season.”
The Glenwood City Hilltoppers will next play Spring Valley on Thursday, February 11 at home, followed by two away games against Plum City/Elmwood in Plum City on Monday, February 15 and then at Mondovi on Tuesday, February 16.