By Cara L. Dempski
Not every high school basketball team gets the opportunity to play on the same court as an NBA squad, but the Hilltoppers got to experience that feeling last week.
First, though, they had to get through a road trip to Elk Mound January 16. While Glenwood City kept pace with the Mounders for much of the game, the home team had its way in the end, and handed the Toppers a 52-41 defeat.
[emember_protected] Glenwood’s second game of the week, against the Elmwood/Plum City Wolves, originally scheduled to be played at home January 19, was instead played the following afternoon, Saturday, January 20, at the Target Center in Minneapolis.
The experience of playing in an NBA arena seemed to lift the Toppers’ game to a higher level as they led the Wolves for much of the game, pulling away late in the second half for a convincing 71-51 victory in front of a few hundred fans from the three communities.
The Hilltoppers remained at .500 in the Dunn-St. Croix with a 3-3 mark and are 6-7 overall after splitting last week’s two conference games. Glenwood City faced rival Boyceville at home Tuesday, January 23 after the game was rescheduled from January 11 due to weather. The Toppers will stay at home January 25 to take on Spring Valley, before hitting the road to Mondovi next Tuesday, January 30.
Glenwood City’s defense seemed rock solid last Tuesday at Elk Mound.
At least, that is how it looked, since the Mounders apparently needed to keep knocking over Hilltopper senior Peter Hill. The GC player hit the hardwood no less than four times in the second half of the game, playing hard and close to Elk Mound players, but the last time, when Mounder Brett Lew landed on top of him, was probably the worst.
Hill said after the game he might be a touch sore the next morning.
Despite the more-than-respectable defensive effort by the Toppers, they fell to the Mounders 52-41 in the January 16 home contest.
“It’s kind of been the story of our season,” head coach Tristan Kittilson said in his post-game comments. “I think defensively we’ve been really solid. I don’t mind giving up 50 points, we just can’t score 30.”
Kittilson speculated his team missed 10 to 15 layups, and noted teams do not win basketball games by missing layups and turning the ball over on offense. He also said if the team can clean up those issues, it will be a much better ball club.
The Toppers opened the game by taking a 9-5 lead over Elk Mound in the first six minutes, but the Mounders found their footing to come back for a 10-9 lead with only 7:16 to go in the opening 18 minutes.
Elk Mound continued to build its lead, while Glenwood City scored just one more basket before halftime to trail 19-11 when the buzzer sounded for intermission.
The Mounders built their lead to 23-11 in the opening minute of the second half, but Riley Schutz put a stop to the run with a three-point shot, which provided a definite spark for the Hilltoppers.
After the home team committed a trio of fouls in two seconds, Glenwood City came to life. Tanner Davis nailed a trio of threes – one from near the top of the key, and the others from the baseline – and Schutz hit a fourth to give the Hilltoppers a 26-25 lead.
It was short-lived, as Elk Mound’s Brett Lew drained a three from the baseline just 20 seconds later, but Schutz was able to sink an inside shot for two to knot the game up at 28.
Unfortunately, that was kind of Glenwood City’s last hurrah, as the Mounders took a 31-28 lead, and managed to stay at least three points ahead of the Toppers until there was just 8:43 left in the game. Then, the home team started to pull away, and despite a last-second three-point shot from Jake Nelson, the Toppers fell 52-41.
Schutz led the GC boys with 16 points, while Hadin DeSmith provided 10, Davis put in nine, and Pete Hill and Nelson tied with three apiece.
The game’s highest individual score belong to Elk Mound senior Brandon Redwine, who shot for 19.
GLENWOOD CITY 41, ELK MOUND 52
Glenwood City…………………..11 30 — 41
Elk Mound………………………..19 33 — 52
TEAM STATISTICS (FG-FT-F-T)
Glenwood City (15-3-15-41) — D. Hierlmeier 0-0-5-0, O. Wagner 0-0-1-0, P. Hill 0-3-2-3, J. Nelson 1-0-0-3, H. DeSmith 4-0-4-10, R. Schutz 7-0-2-16, T. Davis 3-0-1-9.
Elk Mound (20-8-15-52) — R. Mohr 0-0-4-0, B. Rosenthal 2-3-2-7, B. Redwine 9-1-0-19, D. Curry 0-0-2-0, B. Lambele 2-3-0-7, D. Black 1-1-2-4, B. Lew 3-0-1-9, L. Bergh 0-0-3-0, M. Kinblom 2-0-1-4, C. Mavis 1-0-0-2.
GC — J. Nelson 1, H. DeSmith 2, R. Schutz 2, T. Davis 3; EM — D. Black 1, B. Lew 3.
There must have been some magic in that ol’ NBA floor.
Playing in the large confines of the Target Center, home of the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves, last Saturday afternoon as part of a high school doubleheader, the Glenwood City boys basketball team delivered one of its best performance of the season in beating Plum City/Elmwood going away, 71 to 51.
“It was obviously a pretty special game for us!” said Coach Kittilson of the victory.
“I was happy how we finished the game and played in the second half,” Kittilson continued. “I thought it was our strongest team effort of season and hoping we can build on it moving into the second half of our season!”
The triumvirate of Tanner Davis, Riley Schutz and Hadin DeSmith combined for 57 of the Toppers 71 points.
Davis’ play, in particular, was exceptional in all facets of the game as the junior provided a spark every time he was on the Target Center hardwood. Davis finished with 18 points including a three-pointer and seven two-point buckets. He was also a force on the boards.
“I thought Tanner Davis was outstanding in all areas of the game!” remarked Kittilson.
Fellow classmate Hadin DeSmith led the Toppers offense with 20 points while senior Riley Schutz chipped in for 19.
The three helped led the Toppers to a solid win in a contest that they led from nearly start to finish.
Plum City/Elmwood grabbed an early 3-0 advantage on a Tyler Maxwell basket and free throw but Glenwood City scored on its next three possessions and never trailed again, although the Wolves did knot it a few times in the first half. Maxwell kept the Wolves in the contest throughout the first and into the second half with his 17-point performance which included four treys.
The Wolves stayed close throughout the first half and early in the second as it relied on its three-point shooting to stay close. Plum City/Elmwood connected on seven treys, four of which came in the first 18 minutes.
Glenwood City, who led by just two, 30-28, at the intermission, slowly began to extend its lead after Plum City/Elmwood had closed to within two once more with 9:57 to play.
From that point, the Toppers outscored the Wolves 27-9 en route to the 20-point victory.
The Toppers outscored the Wolves 41-23 in the second half.
GLENWOOD CITY 71, PC/ELMWOOD 51
Glenwood City…………………..30 41 — 71
Plum City/Elmwood……………28 23 — 51
TEAM STATISTICS (FG-FT-F-T)
Glenwood City (30-8-11-71) — D. Hierlmeier 2-1-4-5, P. Hill 0-2-2-2, J. Nelson 0-0-1-0, H. DeSmith 8-3-2-20, Q. Taylor 2-0-0-4, R. Schutz 9-1-0-19, B. Hallquist 1-0-0-3, T. Davis 8-1-2-18.
Plum City/Elmwood (21-7-15-51) — N Ganslacker 2-0-0-4, N. Forser 3-1-3-9, Z. Phillips 1-0-0-3, J. Glampe 3-0-2-7, T. Maxwell 6-1-3-17, L. Baier 0-1-3-1, J. Brunner 0-1-1-1, TJ Asher 0-1-0-1, C. Herth 4-0-1-8.
GC — H. DeSmith 2, T. Davis, B. Hallquist; PC/E — T. Maxwell 4, Jackson Glampe, Z. Phillips, N. Forster. [/emember_protected]