By Cara L. Dempski
GLENWOOD CITY — The rest of the district may have had a break last week between the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, but the boys’ basketball team joined the girls in hosting the annual holiday basketball tournament.
The Hilltopper boys took to the home hardwood at 5 p.m. December 27 to face the Somerset Spartans and played a solid all-around game for the 63-39 win the first night of the tournament.
[emember_protected] The Glenwood City boys faced the Ellsworth Panthers the second night.
Things started out looking well for the Hilltoppers, but the home squad fell behind and eventually lost the contest 72-62.
Glenwood City will be back on the court this Friday, January 5 at Colfax. The team will then face Boyceville at home next Tuesday, January 11. The Hilltoppers are currently 5-5 overall, and have a 2-1 Dunn-St. Croix record.
If the visiting Somerset team was reminiscent of the 300 Spartan warriors who died to the last man at Thermopylae thousands of years ago, then Glenwood City was definitely their Persian Army.
The Hilltoppers held the Spartans scoreless in the opening eight minutes of the December 27 home game while going on an 18-point run of their own. Somerset finally scored with the clock reading 9:52 after sinking the second of a pair of charity throws to make the score 18-1 in Glenwood City’s favor.
It was not a fortuitous start for the Spartans, who fell to the hometown Hilltoppers 63-39 on the opening day of the 2017 Glenwood City Holiday Tournament.
“It was a good game,” head coach Tristan Kittilson said after the fact. “Hopefully it’s a step in the right direction.”
Kittilson praised the Hilltoppers’ play on both sides of the ball, especially the stout defense the GC boys used to keep the Spartans off kilter. He admitted there is still some work to be done on offense, but was pleased with the effort made on the court against Somerset.
The evening’s biggest Topper contributor was senior Riley Schutz, who was all over the court to pick up 22 points for the home team. Peter Hill and Dillon Hierlmeier tallied 22 more points between them by scoring 11 each, and Tanner Davis took an occasional break from pulling down rebounds to score seven.
Quinn Taylor accounted for six points, Hadin DeSmith put in three of four free throws, Brandyn Hallquist logged two, and Jake Nelson was good for one from the line.
The Hilltopper coach said he hoped the team could maintain the energy and intensity it showed against the Spartans in the game against Ellsworth the following night.
SOMERSET 39, GLENWOOD CITY 63
Somerset………………………….14 25 — 39
Glenwood City…………………..33 30 — 63
TEAM STATISTICS (FG-FT-F-T)
Somerset (14-4-14-39) — Sheridan 2-0-1-6, Ortega 0-1-4-1, Medina-Ortiz 1-0-2-2, Rivard 1-0-0-2, Piletich 2-3-2-8, Kreibich 5-0-1-14, Madden 1-0-3-2, Baillargeon 0-0-1-0, Schactner 1-0-0-2, Sayers 1-0-0-2.
Glenwood City (24-11-9-63) — Hierlmeier 3-5-2-11, Wagner 0-0-1-0, Hill 5-0-0-11, Nelson 0-1-1-1, DeSmith 0-3-2-3, Taylor 3-0-1-6, Schutz 9-2-2-22, Hallquist 1-0-0-2, Davis 3-0-0-7.
S — Sheridan 2, Piletich 1, Kreibich 4; GC —Hill 1, Schutz 2, Davis 1.
The frustration of the Hilltoppers’ second game of their annual tournament was written clearly in coach Tristan Kittilson’s face at the end of the night. The Glenwood City coach had just one word for the team’s 72-62 loss to Ellsworth December 28.
“Disappointing,” he said. “I don’t think we did very good executing down the stretch when we had the lead.”
A combination of poor transition defense and at trying for poorly-executed shots led to some easy baskets for Ellsworth. Those issues, combined with the team not quite being in the shape it should be at this point in the season, the loss seems just that much more disappointing.
Glenwood City kept pace with the Panthers throughout the first half, and finally pulled ahead early in the second half after senior Riley Schutz drew two unopposed shots on a foul from Ellsworth junior Erick Lange, who then compounded his error by aggressing toward a referee, a move that earned the young Panther a fifth foul in the form of a technical.
Schutz led the Hilltoppers with 18 points, while junior Dillon Hierlmeier picked up 11 and Tanner Davis added 10. Hadin DeSmith scored nine, and Pete Hill and Quinn Taylor recorded seven apiece.
Panther senior Drake Flom was something of a one-man show, scoring 28 of Ellsworth’s 72 points to lead the game in scoring.
ELLSWORTH 72, GLENWOOD CITY 62
Ellsworth…………………………..32 40 — 72
Glenwood City…………………..26 36 — 62
TEAM STATISTICS (FG-FT-F-T)
Ellsworth (28-12-13-72) — E. Lange 0-0-5-0, C. Woodland 3-0-0-6, L. Benson 6-3-2-15, L. Richards 5-0-0-10, A. Motley 3-2-2-9, D. Flom 10-6-4-28, M. Anderson 1-1-0-4.
Glenwood City (25-7-15-62) — D. Hierlmeier 4-2-3-11, O. Wagner 0-0-1-0, P. Hill 3-0-0-7, H. DeSmith 4-0-1-9, Q. Taylor 2-3-2-7, R. Schutz 8-2-4-18, T. Davis 4-0-4-10.
E — A. Motley 1, D. Flom 2, M. Anderson 1; GC — P. Hill 1, H. DeSmith 1, T. Davis 2. [/emember_protected]