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By Missy Klatt
The Glenwood City boys’ basketball season came to an end with a second-round loss to the Warriors of Clear Lake in the WIAA Division 4 regional tournament this past Friday night, February 19th in Clear Lake. The Hilltoppers fell to the unbeaten Warriors’ squad, who are ranked eighth in the latest D4 state poll, 75-50. Clear Lake went on to beat Webster the following evening to win the regional championship to improve to 21-0.
The Toppers made it to the second round by defeating the Shell Lake Lakers at home on Tuesday, February 16th by a score of 61-42 in the regional quarterfinal contest.
With the playoff split, the Glenwood City boys ended the season with an overall mark of 5-17 and were 2-12 in conference play, good for seventh place in the eight-team Dunn-St. Croix Conference.
The Toppers, who were seeded fourth in the regional tournament, hosted the number five seed, Lakers of Shell Lake.
After the game, head coach Tristan Kittilson exclaimed, “The boys played hard!”
Glenwood City got off to a great start where the Toppers soon had a 20-3 lead in the first half. However, the Lakers weren’t going down without a fight and they fought their way back, making a highly contested three-point shot at the buzzer to pull to within five points of the Toppers at 21-26 by the end of the first half.
It was another strong start in the second half for the Hilltoppers as they soon had a double-digit lead, which they never gave up. They outscored the Lakers 35-21 in the second half to earn a 61-42 victory.
Brandyn Hallquist, who according to Kittilson, played a really great game, tied a career high with 26 points. Gavin Janson followed with ten points. Kitttilson praised the play of Elek Anderson stating, “[he] earned his first career start and played very well adding eight points.”
Glenwood City (61)
FG-FT-F-TP: Hallquist 10-5-3-26, Bliese 1-0-1-2, G. Janson 4-1-1-10, Olson 3-3-2-9, M. Janson 0-0-2-0, Anderson 3-2-3-8, Moe 0-0-2-0, Swenby 3-0-4-6. Total 24-12-17-61.
Shell Lake (42)
FG-FT-F-TP: Brunberg 0-0-2-0, McNulty 4-1-2-12, Swan 1-3-2-5, Kemp 0-0-1-0, Deneen 5-6-1-18, Steines 0-0-1-0, Oliva-Sosa 1-0-0-2, Schultz 2-1-3-5. Total 13-11-12-42.
Glenwood City…..…..…..…..…..26 35 – 61
Shell Lake…..…..…..…..…..……21 21 – 42
3 point goals: Glenwood City: Hallquist, G. Janson. Shell Lake: McNulty 3, Deneen 2.
Round two pitted the Toppers against the top-seeded Clear Lake Warriors who are undefeated this season.
The Warriors who have a definite height advantage, opened the game with ten points in the paint to three from the Toppers in the first few minutes of the half.
The Toppers then had a short five-point run with two under the basket from Elek Anderson and a baseline three from Gavin Janson. But, the Warriors then came back with two buckets from outside the arc before the Toppers called a timeout at the 11:59 mark with the Warriors leading 16-8.
As play continued, the Warriors went on another run, this time scoring ten points to the Toppers two to increase their lead to 26-10.
It was at this point, with just over six minutes left on the clock, that the Hilltoppers then put up nine unanswered points, six of which came from Drew Olson to close to within seven points.
With about four minutes left in the half, the Warriors scored four more points before the Toppers had a six-point run with buckets from the Janson brothers, four points for Gavin and two for Max. Two more points from the Warriors gave them a 32-25 lead.
With under a minute left the Toppers narrowed the gap and scored four more points; a short hook shot from Owen Swenby and two under the basket from Olson off an inbound pass to pull to within three points of the Warriors.
Unfortunately, the Warriors got off one last three pointer with just three seconds before the first-half buzzer sounded to increase their lead to six, 35-29, heading into the locker room for intermission.
In the second half, the Warriors got the best of the Toppers with their press.
Kittilson admitted that his team had too many unforced turnovers and missed opportunities.
The half started with the Warriors going on a 9-2 run before Gavin Janson hit another three from the top of the arc. The Warriors then scored 13 unanswered points which took the clock down to 11:00 minutes and gave the Warriors a 57-34 lead.
Over the next three and a half minutes each team scored seven points. It was during this time that the Warriors finally took off their press.
Now with about seven minutes left in the game, the scoring was basically back and forth. Unfortunately for the Toppers, Clear Lake had an insurmountable lead by that point and it couldn’t be caught as the Warriors, who outscored GC 40-21 in the latter half, won the game by a score of 75-50.
Despite the loss, Kittilson was extremely proud of his team noting that they battled all game long.
Drew Olson was the Toppers leading scorer with 15 points, who did a nice job inside with some pump fakes. Gavin Janson and Owen Swenby each had ten points.
Adam Loener and Ashtyn O’Bryan led the Warriors with 14 points each and Alex St. John chipped in for 13 points.
Kittilson commented on the season as a whole saying, “Overall on the season, I am proud of my guys! Obviously didn’t meet our goals of record wise, but we completed every night and got better over the season. Our seniors will be greatly missed, and I am excited about the guys we will be returning. Hopefully we can get in the gym more over the summer and get back to work to improve our skill sets and close the gap in our conference!”
Glenwood City (61)
FG-FT-F-TP: Hallquist 2-2-1-6, Wickman 0-0-1-0, G. Janson 3-1-2-10, Olson 6-1-4-15, Eggert 0-0-2-0, M. Janson 1-0-0-2, Anderson 3-0-2-7, Moe 0-0-1-0, Swenby 4-2-4-10. Total 19-6-17-50.
Clear Lake (75)
FG-FT-F-TP: Loenser 7-3-0-14, Peterson 5-0-2-10, Burbach 4-3-0-11, Blanchard 2-1-2-5, St. John 5-0-0-13, Logan 0-1-1-1, O’Bryan 6-2-4-14, Campion 1-0-0-3, Aune 2-0-0-4. Total 32-7-11-75.
Glenwood City…..…..…..…..….29 21 – 50
Clear Lake…..…..…..…..…..…..35 40 – 75
3 point goals: Glenwood City: G. Janson 3, D. Olson 2, E. Anderson. Clear Lake: Loenser 3, St. John 3, Campion.