By Cara L. Dempski
GLENWOOD CITY — Anyone who has ever practiced with an athletic team knows continuous improvement is a consistent goal.
It is a mindset that Glenwood City boys’ basketball head coach Tristan Kittilson is banking on this season for his team.
“We made a commitment (last year) to get better each day and control what we could,” he explained. “Our commitments remain the same. We just want to take it day by day, and focus on what we can control, and that’s getting a little better each day and staying focused on one game at a time.”
[emember_protected] While Kittilson may have lost starter Allen Croes and classmate Will Rosenow to graduation this past May, he returns a pair of all-conference honorees in starting positions, and is looking at some newcomers who have potential for making big contributions down the road.
Senior Riley Schutz earned first-team Dunn-St. Croix honors for a 2016-2017 season where he tallied a 15.5 point-per-game average, reeled in 209 rebounds, and provided 76 assists. He is joined by classmates Quinn Taylor, Kyle Meyers, Peter Hill, Owen Wagner and Jake Nelson.
“Riley Schutz is, in my opinion, the best player in our league,” Kittilson said of the senior. “I think he is going to have a tremendous season for us.”
Taylor and Hill provided relief on the court last season, with Taylor playing in 21 games for a 5.7 PPG, and Hill picking up a 3.2 PPG in 19 contests.
Juniors Dillon Hierlmeier, Tanner Davis and Hadin DeSmith are back after solid sophomore seasons. Hierlmeier was named all-DSC honorable mention last year, and carried a 13.2 PPG average through the year. Davis will put his height to good use rebounding after nabbing 117 as a sophomore, and DeSmith is hoping to build on a nice season off the bench last year to make a bigger impact as a junior.
Sophomore Dan Loring is one player the Hilltopper head coach is keeping an eye on after the GC student saw some varsity time in four games last season. His classmates, Andrew Berends, Ethan Hanson, Jordan Klatt, Cas Grant and Tom Rosenow, are also hoping to get some time with the varsity squad this year.
Freshman Brandyn Hallquist will get his first taste of high school ball this season, and is another young player Kittilson finds promising. Other freshmen joining this year’s Hilltopper team are Bryce Drill, Nick Hill, Will Eggert, Jace Wilson, PJ Watson, Gavin Johnson and Henry Wallin.
Kittilson sees both good things and areas for improvement in this year’s team.
“I think we will be very skilled and bring a lot of experience and good depth,” he explained. “Our weaknesses will be size. We don’t have a ton of height.
The Glenwood City coach said this year’s Dunn-St. Croix will be a competitive one, with any team in the conference holding the keys to a win on any given night.
Kittilson’s Hilltoppers went 7-17 overall last season, and were 4-10 in the Dunn-St. Croix. The head coach is entering his fifth season at the helm of the Glenwood City basketball program, and has an overall record of 35-60.
The Toppers will not open their season until November 30, when they take a road trip to Siren. They will host Cadott December 4 before opening their conference season at Spring Valley December 7.
Seniors: Quinn Taylor, Riley Schutz, Kyle Meyers, Peter Hill, Owen Wagner and Jake Nelson.
Juniors: Dillon Hierlmeier, Tanner Davis and Hadin DeSmith.
Sophomores: Cole Logghe, Dan Loring, Andrew Berends, Ethan Hanson, Jordan Klass, Cas Grant and Tom Rosenow.
Freshmen: Bryce Drill, Nick Hill, Will Eggert, Jace Wilson, PJ Watson, Brandyn Hallquist, Gavin Johnson and Henry Wallin. [/emember_protected]