By Cara L. Dempski
GLENWOOD CITY — According to the scoreboard, Glenwood City lost its last game before the holiday break to St. Croix Falls, 69-59.
Hilltoppers’ head coach Tristan Kittilson still called the match-up a moral win after watching his team chip away at a 12-point halftime deficit to pull within six points of the Saints in the closing minutes of the December 22 game.
The Glenwood City boys won the second half, scoring 34 points to beat out the Saints’ 32-point effort, but it still was not enough to come away with the overall victory.
“If we had played two halves like that, we would have been in better shape,” Kittilson said of the game. “The way we finished the first half kind of gave us some momentum going into the second half.”
The Hilltoppers opened the game looking a bit sluggish offensively, but managed to keep St. Croix Falls from running away with the score. It took until 14:34 for Glenwood to get on the board, and then Pete Hill bounced one off the glass and in to make the score 6-2.
The Saints kept up the game tempo, and led 19-9 at the nine-minute mark in the first half, and pushing the score to 28-9 with seven minutes to go in the opening half. Hilltopper sophomore Tanner Davis jump-started the Glenwood City offense at 6:11 with a big three-point shot to lift the Toppers to 28-12.
From there until the end of the half, the Hilltoppers started to pick up the pace, but managed to only push the score to 37-19. Then, with only 30 seconds left in the half, lightning struck for the Toppers in the form of Riley Schutz.
The junior sent up two big shots from outside the arc to lift the Glenwood squad to 37-25 and shift the momentum in the Toppers’ direction.
When the Hilltoppers hit the floor for the second half, they were more aggressive, pressing the Saints for turnovers and pulling down rebound after rebound for scoring opportunities.
“In the second half, we saw the basket a little more, had the ball go through the hoop, and just made some nice plays,” Kittilson said.
The half opened with Hill dropping in another field goal after barely 10 seconds ticked off the clock. The Saints maintained a 12-point lead until Davis landed a field goal from the baseline to pull within 10 with 3:34 to go. Nearly 30 seconds later, Schutz was the lucky recipient of a St. Croix Falls turnover and sunk a three-point jumper to make the score 56-49.
Schutz rained another pair of threes on the Saints at 2:21 and 2:00 to make the score 55-61, but the Hilltoppers could only get two more field goals to fall, while St. Croix Falls tacked on another eight on its way to the win.
Riley Schutz led the Glenwood City offense with 24 points after sinking three field goals and a whopping six three-pointers. Davis picked up 11 points, Allen Croes and Dillon Hierlmeier tied with seven points apiece, and Pete Hill and Hadin DeSmith picked up five points each.
The game’s leading scorer was St. Croix Falls senior Alex Johnson, who chalked up 26 points with six field goals, a trio of three-point shots, and five free throws.
The loss drops the Hilltoppers to 1-5 overall, and they maintain a 0-3 record in the Dunn-St. Croix.
The Glenwood City boys are now preparing to host the Glenwood City Holiday Invitational December 29 and 30. They will take on the Somerset Spartans on Thursday, December 29 at 5 p.m., and the Ellsworth Panthers on December 30 at 7 p.m.
The Toppers will then host Siren on January 3.
ST. CROIX FALLS 69, GLENWOOD CITY 59
St. Croix Falls………………..37 32 — 69
Glenwood City……………….25 34 — 59
TEAM STATISTICS (FG-FT-F-T)
St. Croix Falls (19-16-12-69) T. Henk 1-1-1-3, A. Johnson 6-5-3-26, J. Kahl 3-3-2-12, T. Lamirande 0-1-0-4, I. Hoggatt 5-4-2-14, T. Cooper 4-2-4-10.
Glenwood City (14-4-21-59) D. Hierlmeier 2-0-3-7, P. Hill 2-1-1-5, H. DeSmith 1-0-5-5, Q. Taylor 0-0-1-0, R. Schutz 3-0-5-24, T. Davis 4-0-1-11, A. Croes 2-3-5-7.
THREE-POINTERS SCF — A. Johnson 3, J. Kahl 1, T. Lamirande 1; GC — D. Hierlmeier 1, H. DeSmith 1, R. Schutz 6, T. Davis 1.