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By Missy Klatt
The Glenwood City girls’ basketball season has come to an end after going further than many expected.
The Lady Toppers defeated Shell Lake and Webster in the first two rounds of the WIAA Division 4 regional playoffs before they fell to the Clear Lake Warriors 27-61 in Saturday’s regional final.
The road to the championship started with a first-round, 36-27 victory over the sixth seed Lakers of Shell Lake that the third seed Hilltoppers hosted last Tuesday, February 9 and continued with a 49-46 road upset of second seed Webster on Friday, February 12.
Glenwood City finished the 2020-21 season with an overall record of 8-15.
On Tuesday, February 9th, the Lady Hilltoppers took to their home court against Shell Lake in what was a competitive but low scoring regional quarterfinal game.
Toppers’ head coach Carly Kittilson stated, “I am very proud of our girls for continuing to push through some adversities and finish the game strong.” She continued to explain, “Our shots that normally fall for us as a team weren’t falling during some spurts of the game. But, our girls kept attacking the hoop and taking their shots.”
In the first half, the Lady Tops outscored the Lakers 22-14 with the points spread out amongst the five starters. In the second half, it was the Toppers 14, Lakers 13 for a final score of Lady Toppers 36, Lakers 27.
“We did some really nice things on offense working the ball around. Shell Lake played hard and their girls gave it their all,” remarked Kittilson.
For the night, Bella Rassbach and Ryeah Oehlke both had ten points followed by Kendall Schutz with nine.
Glenwood City (36)
FG-FT-F-TP: Rassbach 3-2-2-10, M. Oehlke 1-3-2-5, Schutz 4-1-1-9, R. Oehlke 4-2-1-10, Fayerweather 0-2-1-2. Total 12-10-7-36.
Shell Lake (27)
FG-FT-F-TP: Bohl 4-0-1-8, Melton 0-0-2-0, McCracken 0-0-1-0, Skattebo 2-0-0-4, Kidder 3-4-2-11, Skattebo 1-0-3-2, Clark 1-0-3-2. Total 11-4-12-27.
Glenwood City….….….….….….22 14 – 36
Shell Lake….….….….….….….…14 13 – 27
3-point goals: Glenwood City: Rassbach 2. Shell Lake: Kidder.
Next up on the road to the finals was the number two seed Webster Tigers on Friday, February 12th. The Lady Toppers made the long, cold drive to Webster but by the night’s end they were anything but cold.
After trailing by just two points at the end of the first half the Toppers came out in the second half and soon took the lead.
With 12:35 on the clock, the Toppers had a 39-33 lead before their shooting went cold.
Fortunately, Glenwood City continued to hustle on defense and held the Tigers to just two free throws before Bella Rassbach struck at the 8:25 mark with a bucket from outside the arc. A short time later, Ryeah Oehlke added two more points to give the Toppers a 44-35 lead.
Over the next four and a half minutes, the Tigers outscored the Toppers 10-2 to pull to within one point at 45-46.
The remainder of the points in the game came from the charity line.
At the 1:03 mark, Rassbach committed her fifth personal foul putting the Tigers on the line shooting a one-and-one. They hit the first one to tie the game but failed on their second attempt. After misses from both the Toppers and the Tigers, Maddie Oehlke was at the line for the Toppers with 5.2 seconds remaining in the game, shooting a one-and-one. She hit the go ahead basket but missed her second shot. In their battle for the rebound, Maddie was again fouled and took to the line for another one-and-one with just 2.9 seconds left on the clock. This time she was successful on both ends which sealed the win for the Toppers at 49-46.
“What a fun game!” exclaimed Kittilson after the contest.
“Our girls worked so hard and were determined to get the win,” she added. “As a team we hit some big shots and we made very important free throws in the home stretch. There are not enough words to express how proud I am of these girls. It doesn’t matter if they play every minute or zero minutes, we are a team. Everyone encourages, cheers and supports each other. That’s what makes coaching these girls so special. So proud.”
Maddie Oehlke and Kendall Schutz led the Toppers with 12 points each followed by Bella Rassbach and Ryeah Oehlke who both had 10 points.
Glenwood City (49)
FG-FT-F-TP: Rassbach 4-0-5-10, M. Oehlke 3-3-2-12, Schutz 5-0-3-12, R. Oehlke 3-4-2-10, Fayerweather 2-0-3-5, Draxler 0-0-1-0. Total 17-7-16-49.
FG-FT-F-TP: McDonell 3-0-2-8, Janssen 0-0-2-0, L. Hetfeld 2-2-2-6, B. Hetfeld 7-0-4-14, Daniels 2-1-0-6, Wols 3-5-3-12. Total 17-8-13-46.
Glenwood City…..….….….….….28 21 – 49
Webster….….….….….….….……30 16 – 46
3-point goals: Glenwood City: Rassbach 2, M. Oehlke 3, Schutz 2, Fayerweather. Webster: McDonell 2, Daniels, Wols.
The regional final took place in Clear Lake on Saturday, February 13th. The Warriors made it to the state tournament last year but they were unable to compete due to the COVID shut down.
The Lady Toppers had faced the Warriors twice already this season and twice they lost. Unfortunately, the third time was not a charm as they lost once again to the Warriors 27-61.
It was a slow start to the game for the Toppers with several turnovers and they didn’t even get a shot off until the 14:30 mark and then it didn’t go in. As a result, the Warriors jumped out to an 11-0 lead before the Toppers finally got on the board at 12:52 with a three pointer from Bella Rassbach.
As play continued, each team added four more points before Clear Lake went on a 13-point run which took the play clock down to just over three minutes and gave the hosts a 28-7 lead.
With 2:57 on the clock, Mali Draxler hit the first of her free throws which was followed about two and a half minutes later with a free throw from the Warriors. Maddie Oehlke closed out the half with a three pointer with about seven seconds left to play. The Warriors took the first half easily, 29-11.
The Toppers’ Ryeah Oehlke got things started in the second half with a layup off the opening drive. However, the Warriors countered that with a three pointer. Followed by a free throw before Delanie Fayerweather hit a baseline three at the 15:08 mark. Two more hoops under the basket from Ryeah were countered by two more from the Warriors which brought the score to 35-18 and the Warriors calling for a timeout.
All during the second half, Glenwood City had lots of good looks at the basket and took many shots but nothing was falling. After the timeout, the battle continued and the Warriors put up nine points to the Lady Tops’ seven before the Warriors scored 15 unanswered points and there was just over a minute left to play.
Finally with forty seconds left, Devynn Olson hit a long two from the top of the key. The Warriors got the final basket of the game with just under three seconds on the clock to win 61-27 and move on to the sectional competition.
After the game, Coach Kittilson gave the Warriors credit stating, “Clear Lake is a very fundamentally strong basketball team. They are very strong in the post and they can shoot the three.”
The Toppers plan was to shut down the Warriors post player, Maddie Rosen, which they did in the first half, only giving up four points. Unfortunately, the Warriors’ outside game was too much for them as they continued to knock down threes.
Offensively, Kittilson noted that they had a hard time knocking down their shots. “We got some great looks, it just wasn’t our night. I am extremely proud of our girls for playing hard until the buzzer went off.”
As for the season as a whole Kittilson had this to say, “The season didn’t end the way we had hoped, but these girls have grown so much this year as basketball players and as people. Our girls did some great things and reached a regional championship game.”
“Some other season highlights are, we lost to Colfax by six, lost to Elk Mound by two and we beat Mondovi on their home court. One of our best games this year was against Webster. This game was back-and-forth, then we had a 10-point lead, Webster went on a run to tie and take the lead by one but yet our girls had enough determination and resilience to get the win,” continued Kittilson.
“I am extremely proud of all of them. These girls are positive, supportive and care about each other. We will definitely miss our seniors next year. Maddie, Delanie, Tasha, Yasmin and Bella are exceptional young ladies who lead by example day in and day out. Thank you to our seniors,” concluded the first-year coach.
Glenwood City (27)
FG-FT-F-TP: Rassbach 2-1-1-6, M. Oehlke 2-0-2-6, Schutz 0-0-3-0, R. Oehlke 3-0-0-6, Olson 1-0-0-2, Fayerweather 2-1-0-6, Draxler 0-1-0-1, Johnson 0-0-1-0. Total 10-3-7-27.
Clear Lake (61)
FG-FT-F-TP: McIntire 1-0-1-2, K. Rosen 2-3-0-8, Roessler 1-0-0-2, Monson 4-0-0-11, B. Cress 1-0-4-3, Peterson 0-1-1-3, E. Cress 3-1-1-9, M. Rosen 10-0-2-10, Pickard 1-0-0-3. Total 23-5-9-61.
Glenwood City…..….….….….….11 16 – 27
Clear Lake…..….….….….….…..29 32 – 61
3-point goals: Glenwood City: Rassbach, M. Oehlke 2, Fayerweather. Clear Lake: K. Rosen, Monson 3, B. Cress, E. Cress 2, Pickard.