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Strong effort, not enough rhythm for the Glenwood City Hilltopper boys

By Laura Giammattei

GLENWOOD CITY — The frustration continued for the Glenwood City Hilltoppers last week as they made every effort to put points on the board, but continued to fall short on the offensive end of the court.

The Hilltoppers gave a solid effort this past Thursday, February 11 against the Spring Valley Cardinals. Yet they just could not get their shots to fall enough to get into the game, resulting in a 58-34 defeat. 

The Cardinals struck quickly with a bucket from the arc, followed shortly by a free throw conversion off a Topper foul. They continued to shoot well from all angles of the court, especially in the paint and with second chances under the net.

Glenwood City got off to a slow and sloppy start, shooting cold and racking up fouls to put Spring Valley significantly ahead early in the first half. Most of the game can be explained by this poor start.

It took the Toppers nearly five minutes to put their first points on the board, courtesy of a pair of drives from sophomore, Riley Schutz. Though he would not score for the remainder of the half, he continued to be a strong presence defensively, disrupting the Cardinal offense with steals on three separate occasions. Unfortunately, the Toppers were just not able to profit off of these turnovers and often gave the ball back to their opponent. They spent much of the game trying to overcome the deficit and this led to simple mistakes.

Meanwhile, Spring Valley maintained a strong defense and often came up with rebounds on both ends of the court. Their efficiency denied Glenwood second chance shooting opportunities often. They also caused a good bit of offensive disruption for the Toppers, but they did profit from their turnovers which helped build their 31-11 lead over the Toppers at the half.

The Cardinals continued their offensive assault with early steals for drives, and the team also kept pressure up on defense as well. This resulted in a number of buckets made while also drawing fouls and Spring Valley soon found themselves up 40-15 six minutes into the half.

While Glenwood’s production in the second half improved, it was still meager. They added just 16 points in the second half, spread across seven athletes and nobody was able to make any connections from beyond the arc. The lack of outside shooting ultimately put Glenwood out of the game.

There were a few positives, however. One aspect of the offense that improved dramatically was free throw shooting, which resulted in nearly half of their points scored in the second half. Schutz and junior Allen Croes both shot one hundred percent and senior Joel Ormson connected on one of his two opportunities. Schutz ended the night with a team high of eight points, followed by Croes with six.

As head coach Tristan Kittilson would summarize, “We started the game very slowly offensively and just could not get it going in any kind of flow to string some baskets together”.

He added: “I thought we played good initial defense, but again, gave up too many offensive rebounds which lead to second chance points. The second half was very much the same; we just couldn’t make enough plays to get ourselves in the game. Our effort overall I thought was really good. I think every week they put in a very strong effort. Unfortunately, there’s just too many mental and physical errors being made and that results in the inability to put two halves of basketball together.”

The boys hit the road this week to play three games, which kicked off on Monday, February 15 against the Plum City/Elmwood Wolves. Their next two games will be held on Thursday, February 18 against the Mondovi Buffaloes and will wrap up in Boyceville against the rival Bulldogs on Friday, February 19.