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By Amber Hayden
GRANTSBURG — Winners in three of their final four regular season contests (the lone loss, a double overtime defeat to Dunn-St. Croix runner-up Spring Valley in the conference and season finale), the Glenwood City boys’ basketball team seemed to be headed in the right direction just in time for the playoffs.
Unfortunately, the Hilltoppers came out flat in the first half of their WIAA Division 4 regional quarterfinal game in Grantsburg Tuesday evening, February 26 and were never able to recover.
Despite a 21-point farewell performance by senior Dillon Hierlmeier and another 16 points from sophomore Brandyn Hallquist, the Hilltoppers lost by a dozen points – 64 to 52 – to the host Pirates and were eliminated in the opening round of this year’s tournament.
“Unfortunately we did not play our best game,” said Toppers’ head coach Tristan Kittilson. “We did manage to turn it on in the second half and tie it up and it was a battle to the end, but Grantsburg just made more plays and shots down the stretch.”
Dillon Hierlmeier closed the book on his high school basketball career, finishing just 70 points shy of the 1,000 career -points plateau. Among his 21-points in Grantsburg last Tuesday, Hierlmeier netted three triples and was six-of-nine from the charity stripe.
Glenwood City, seeded 9th in the upper half bracket of the D4 Hudson boys’ sectional, trailed 8th seeded Grantsburg by 11 points, 31-20, at the intermission.
Hierlmeier was responsible for 11 of Glenwood City’s 20 first-half points.
Brandyn Hallquist, who had a stellar sophomore season with 206 points scored in the 2018-19 campaign, accounted for five first-half points and senior Tanner Davis bucketed the Toppers other four points of the opening half.
The Hilltoppers played much better offensively in the second half, nearly matching the Pirates point-for-point.
Glenwood City netted 32 points in the final 18 minutes to Grantsburg’s 33.
In fact, the Toppers were able to battle back and tie the game in the second half as Hallquist and Hierlmeier added 11 and ten points respectively to their point tallies and aenior Hadin DeSmith, who was shut out in the first half, scored six.
But the Pirates pulled away again in the final minutes for the 12-point win.
Grantsburg (10-11) advanced to play number one seed Clear Lake (19-1) in last Friday’s regional semifinal. The Warriors were a state qualifier last season and are currently ranked fifth in the D4 state polls.
Tanner Davis finished with seven points while junior Ethan Hanson scored Glenwood City’s remaining two points.
“The boys played hard, it just wasn’t enough tonight to get the win and advance,” said Kittilson.
Glenwood City finished the 2018-19 season with an 8-14 record.
GLENWOOD CITY 52, GRANTSBURG 64
Glenwood City……..……20 32 – 52
Grantsburg.….….….……31 33 – 64
TEAM STATISTICS (FG-FT-F-TP)
Glenwood City — B. Hallquist 6-2-2-16, D. Hierlmeier 6-6-5-21, H. DeSmith 3-0-5-6, E. Hanson 1-0-4-2, T. Davis 3-1-1-7.
Grantsburg — C. Knutson 4-7-1-15, L. Anderson 2-0-4-5, J. Duncan 0-2-3-2, D. MacKean 2-1-1-5, A. Wedin 5-4-0-16, G. Bergman 1-0-0-2, J. VanWatermeulen 8-3-3-19.
GC — B. Hallquist 2, D. Hierlmeier 3; G — L. Anderson 1, A. Wedin 2.