By Cara L. Dempski and Shawn DeWitt
There were a lot of games that left Glenwood City head coach Tristan Kittilson shaking his head during the regular season.
It seemed the Hilltoppers could make a game of things for approximately 27 minutes of most contests before their heads got the better of them and they dropped away.
That seemed to change with the team’s February 27 matchup against Colfax in a WIAA Division 4 boys’ regional basketball quarterfinal game at home.
[emember_protected] The Vikings handled the Hilltoppers with relative ease at their first meeting in early January, but the Hilltoppers turned the tables for a win in the second contest in Glenwood City last month.
In a world of averages and means, that would indicate a fairly well-matched pair of teams meeting for the third time this season, and that was definitely what the fans at Glenwood City were treated to at home last week when the Toppers rallied in the second half and picked up a 56-49 win over the Vikings as senior Riley Schutz scored 24 to eclipse the 1,000 career points plateau to help Glenwood City move on to Clear Lake for a March 2 matchup.
The GC boys’ then faced the top-seeded and unbeaten Warriors Friday night, March 2 to earn the right to play for the regional championship Saturday evening.
Despite struggling offensively against the much taller Clear Lake squad, Glenwood City was able to stay with the Warriors in the first half.
But the second was an entirely different story. The Toppers were outscored by 25 points in that latter half and saw their season end with a thud, 60-23.
Glenwood City finished the 2017-18 season even at 12-12.
If it was the first win against the Vikings that proved the charm this season, then the second must have been the icing on the cake for the Hilltoppers.
Even if things looked dire to start out.
“Colfax played a great game, and started off really hot, shooting the ball well,” Kittilson said to open his written comments. “We did not start the game well, and really battled hard to keep it close, and we did that keeping to a three-point game, I believe.”
Well, Kittilson was not too far off in his estimate, as the Vikings took a five-point advantage into halftime, but the Hilltoppers still found a way to come out on top of the February 27 home contest, and regional quarterfinal, with a 56-47 win.
The win was a poignant one for senior Riley Schutz, who reached 1,000 career points on a 3-point basket with 10:45 left in the game. According to Kittilson, the game’s high-scoring player only needed half of the 24 points he accrued in the game to make it to 1,000 points for his high school career.
The Glenwood City player held his own against the Vikings, with some substantial assistance from fellow senior Pete Hill, and juniors Hadin DeSmith, Tanner Davis and Dillon Hierlmeier.
Hierlmeier was actually the first player to score in the game, hitting both ends of a free-throw opportunity, but Colfax’s Ed Hydukovich nailed a field goal in response to tie the game.
The Vikings got off to a fast start with a string of three-point shots from Jackson Hellmann, who finished the night with five threes to his credit. Hydukovich contributed several field goals, but the Hilltoppers seemed to always have an answer for the Colfax boys.
Glenwood City was down 24-14 with 5:41 to go before halftime when there seemed to be a subtle shift in the air. That is when Hierlmeier and Davis canned a pair of shots to cut the Vikings’ lead to 26-20, Schutz nabbed two on an inbounds play after Colfax’s Thompson added one from the line to make it 27-22, Hierlmeier tacked up another two to trail by just three.
The Hilltoppers pulled to within one, but then Treyton Teige stepped up to the line for the Vikings and drained two to take a 31-28 lead into the locker room.
The home squad came out of the locker room ready to play in the second half, hitting a three right away, but could not easily close the gap to less than six points in the opening minutes of the final half.
Colfax’s Luke Heidorn had just scored to give the Vikings a 41-35 advantage when Schutz shouldered the rest of his team and began to climb out of the six-point hole. He hit a three and then drove to the inside for a two and a jumper to give the Toppers their first lead since Hierlmeier’s opening shots fired.
Hydukovich would respond with a field goal to regain the lead for Colfax, but a three from Pete Smith put the Toppers up 45-43, and they never trailed again.
Schutz led the game with his 24 points Hierlmeier accounted for another 10, DeSmith added nine, Davis put up seven, and Hill rounded things out with six.
The Vikings’ top score belonged to junior Jackson Hellmann, who picked up 16 in the game.
COLFAX 49, GLENWOOD CITY 56
Colfax……………..……….…..33 16 — 49
Glenwood City………..………28 28 — 56
TEAM STATISTICS (FG-FT-F-T)
Colfax (16-12-14-49) — B. Thompson 3-1-2-7, N. Albricht 0-1-1-1, E. Hydukovich 7-0-2-14, T. Teige 1-4-4-7, J. Hellmann 4-4-3-16, L. Heidorn 1-2-0-4.
Glenwood City (22-6-15-56) — D. Hierlmeier 4-2-3-10, P. Hill 2-1-1-6, H. DeSmith 3-1-3-9, Q. Taylor 0-0-2-0, R. Schutz 10-2-3-24, T. Davis 3-0-3-7.
C — T. Teige 1, J. Hellmann 4; GC — P. Hill 1, H. DeSmith 2, R. Schutz 2, T. Davis 1.
The Glenwood City boys’ reward for rallying past Colfax in last Tuesday’s WIAA Division 4 boys’ basketball regional opener was a date with unbeaten and fourth-ranked Clear Lake.
Taking on the Warriors on their home floor in a Division 4 regional semi-final contest last Friday, March 3, the Hilltoppers held tough trailing by just 12 points at the intermission.
But the second 18 minutes of play were a whole other story.
Glenwood City, whose offense sputtered at times in the first half, all but disappeared in the final 18 minutes of action as Clear Lake’s starting line-up featuring four players over six feet including a pair at 6’ 5” and another at 6’ 4” took control of the game and outscored the Toppers 34-9 in the second half.
The tall and agile Warriors stayed perfect on the season with a 60-23 triumph to earn a spot in the following evenings’ regional title game where Clear Lake beat Cameron.
Glenwood City actually scored the game’s first bucket on a nice pass from Riley Schutz to Tanner Davis.
Unfortunately, the Hilltoppers would not hold another lead in the game.
Clear Lake scored the next six points before Hadin DeSmith’s cut the local’s deficit to one at 6-5.
The Warriors answered with a 13-0 run over the next five and half minutes to build their lead to 19-5.
A Schutz basket broke the home team’s run.
Daymond Bad Horse knocked in a three for the Warriors.
Pete Hill scored on a lay in and Schutz hit a triple as GC broke into double digits and trailed 24-12.
After Clear Lake’s 6’ 5” Bailey Blanchard scored inside, Topper Tanner Davis ended the half like he began it, with a basket.
There proved to be few highlights for the Hilltoppers in the second half.
Glenwood City found itself trailing 37-14 before Schutz turned the Toppers’ core over with a basket at 13:18 only to have Clear Lake embarked on another double-digits run.
Again, Schutz came up with a pair of foul shots to make it 47-18 with just under nine minutes to play.
DeSmith and Dan Loring scored the Toppers’ other two hoops of the half as Glenwood City fell 60-23.
Schutz led the way with nine points and DeSmith had five.
Blanchard topped the Warriors scoring with 16 points, split evenly between the halves, while 6’ 5” Bryce Hacker and 6’ 4” Marshal Cain each tossed in 14 points in the win. The Warriors also hit 13 of their 14 charity tosses.
CLEAR LAKE 60, GLENWOOD CITY 23
Clear Lake……………….…..26 34 — 60
Glenwood City………..………14 9 — 23
TEAM STATISTICS (FG-FT-F-T)
Clear Lake (22-13-10-60) — C. Hughes 0-0-1-0, K. Hughes 0-2-1-2, D. Niles 1-2-0-4, B. Benson 0-0-1-0, A. Anderson 1-0-2-3, H. Levy 2-0-2-4, D. Bad Horse 1-0-0-3, B. Hacker 6-2-1-14, M. Cain 6-1-0-14, B. Blanchard 5-6-1-16.
Glenwood City (22-6-15-56) — D. Hierlmeier 0-0-4-0, P. Hill 1-0-0-2, H. DeSmith 2-0-3-5, R. Schutz 3-2-4-9, Q. Taylor 0-0-1-0, E. Hanson 0-1-0-1, D. Loring 1-0-0-2, T. Davis 2-0-1-4.
CL — A. Anderson 1, D. Bad Horse 1, M. Cain 1; GC — H. DeSmith 1, R. Schutz 1. [/emember_protected]