By Cara L. Dempski
Oh, what a difference a year can make.
The Glenwood City Hilltopper boys’ basketball team finished the 2016-2017 Dunn-St. Croix season at 4-10 before falling to Stanley-Boyd in the regional semifinal.
This year, the Toppers tied Spring Valley, with an 8-6 record, for second place in the final Dunn-St. Croix boys’ standings after winning five of their final six conference games including the last four.
It was Glenwood City’s best conference finish since the 2006-07 season when the program tallied a 14-4 record to finish as D-SC’s runner-up. Just a season earlier (2005-06), the Hilltoppers’ had completed a perfect 20-0 regular season which ended with their last visit to the state tournament.
[emember_protected] Head coach Tristan Kittilson and his team stayed over the .500 mark in this year’s D-SC and secured the second-place finish after copping a 68-43 road win over the Elmwood/Plum City boys’ last Thursday, February 22.
The team then turned its focus to a February 24 non-conference contest at Bloomer that was rescheduled from February 19 due to weather. The Hilltoppers struggled against the Blackhawks, who took a 46-29 win.
Glenwood City, 11-11 overall, headed into last evening’s (Feb. 27) WIAA Division 4 regional contest at home against Colfax riding a wave of momentum. GC is seeded eighth and the Vikings ninth. The winner of the game plays number-one seed Clear Lake on the road March 2 for a chance to play for a regional championship the following day.
When it comes to comments, Kittilson seems to like keeping his written ones simple.
“It was a hard-fought game,” he wrote after the Toppers won on the road against the Wolves. “We played a good game from start to finish, and Riley Schutz played very well, leading up with 31 points.”
The Hilltoppers had a 16-point lead at intermission, and expanded it by another 32 points in the second half to outscore the home team 32-23.
Schutz’s 31 points led scoring for the game, and Hadin DeSmith contributed with 10, Dillon Hierlmeier with nine, Tanner Davis with seven, Pete Hill with five, Quinn Taylor with four, and Jake Nelson with two.
The Wolves’ Luke Baier reeled in the home squad’s top score with 14 points.
GLENWOOD CITY 68, ELMWOOD/PLUM CITY 43
Glenwood City……….………36 32 — 68
Elmwood/Plum City…………20 23 — 43
TEAM STATISTICS (FG-FT-F-T)
Glenwood City (25-11-12-68) — D. Hierlmeier 4-0-2-9, O. Wagner 0-0-2-0, P. Hill 2-1-1-5, J. Nelson 0-2-0-2, H. DeSmith 4-2-3-10, Q. Taylor 0-4-0-4, R. Schutz 12-2-1-31, T. Davis 3-0-3-7.
Elmwood/Plum City (19-2-14-43) — N. Gansluckner 1-0-0-2, N. Forster 3-0-3-7, Z. Phillips 2-0-2-5, J. Glampe 3-0-0-7, T. Maxwell 0-0-3-0, L. Baier 6-2-3-14, J. Brunner 1-0-0-2, C. Heath 3-0-3-6.
GC — D. Hierlmeier 1, R. Schutz 2, T. Davis 1; EPC — N. Forster 1, Z. Phillips 1, J. Glampe 1.
If the Blackhawks and Hilltoppers had not played as early as they did February 24, it is a good bet they would not have been able to play the game at all.
Between the Bloomer gym hosting a girls’ regional championship game later that afternoon and the oncoming snowstorm that dropped several inches of snow on the area, it might just as easily have been cancelled after being postponed from the original date of February 19.
Unfortunately for the Hilltoppers, who wound up second in this year’s Dunn-St. Croix, they faced the Blackhawks early enough to play a full game, trailed 25-8 at halftime, and were flattened 46-29 in the end.
Riley Schutz led the Glenwood City efforts with 10 points, with Tanner Davis trailed behind with seven, Hadin DeSmith with six, Quinn Taylor with four, and Pete Hill with two.
Bloomer’s Johnny Bleskacek was the game’s highest-scoring player with 22 points to his credit.
GLENWOOD CITY 29, BLOOMER 46
Glenwood City…………………….8 21 — 29
Bloomer……………………………25 21 — 46
Glenwood City — P. Hill 2, H. DeSmith 6, Q. Taylor 4, R. Schutz 10, T. Davis 7.
Bloomer — M. Miller 8, J. Bleskacek 22, C. Ruf 4, B. Sarauer 6, L. Stolt 2. [/emember_protected]