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The early-season learning curve has been somewhat steep and painful for the Glenwood City girls’ basketball team.
After close losses to Grantsburg and Pepin/Alma in the opening week of the 2021-22 campaign, the Hilltoppers were dealt a pair 50-plus point losses to area heavies Colfax and Eau Claire Regis last week.
First-year head coach Dean Bellanti knew that there might be games like these for his largely young and inexperienced charges, many of which are seeing the first varsity action of their prep careers.
Unfortunately for the youthful Hilltoppers, schedule makers had them taking on Colfax, the defending champions, in this year’s Dunn-St. Croix opener which was played on Glenwood City’s hardwood last Thursday, December 2.
The Vikings used a stifling full-court press and a relentless offensive attack to build a commanding 51-16 halftime advantage en route to a 76-21 triumph.
With just one day of practice, Glenwood City was back on the court to tip off against Eau Claire Regis in an early morning contest at the Western Wisconsin Girls’ Basketball Classic held Saturday in Colfax. Much like Thursday contest, Glenwood City found itself trailing Regis 45-10 at intermission. By the time the final horn sounded, Regis had scored a resounding 75-24 win.
The road does not get any easier for Glenwood City, now 0-4, as it traveled to Augusta for a non-conference tilt Monday and will be at unbeaten Elk Mound this Friday, December 10 before returning home for a game with Elmwood/Plum City next Tuesday.
Glenwood City had an early, albeit, brief lead when it hosted the reigning champion Colfax Vikings last Thursday in the Dunn-St. Croix opener for both squads.
The Hilltoppers grabbed a 5-2 lead only to see the Vikings not only erase it with ease but pile up the points in the first half of play.
Employing its stifling full-court pressure to create numerous turnovers which the Vikings’ proficient and aggressive offense turned into score after score.
The Vikings charged to a 51-16 lead at half to put the game well out of the Toppers’ reach.
In the second half, Glenwood City’s sputtering offense went from bad to worse when it was held scoreless for the first six minutes and finished with just five points, three free tosses and a two-point hoop.
While Colfax pulled back its full-court press and substituted liberally during the final 18 minutes of the game, it still managed to score another 25 points to win going away – 76 to 21.
Six Toppers scored points as lone senior Kendall Schutz lead the way with a half dozen. Freshman Izzy Davis added five, and juniors Mali Draxler and Libby Wagner finished with four and three, respectively.
Ten Vikings put points in the scoring column with Emilee Burcham-Scofield topping all with 18 points, Jeanette Hydukovich tallied 14 and Madison Barstad chipped in for 11.
Colfax shot 16-for-27 at the free throw line while Glenwood City went the line half as much making just five of its 13 attempts.
“We started the game well,” noted coach Bellanti.
“The first ten minutes of the game, we did some really good things both offensively and defensively but, a stretch of turnovers by us caused some easy fast-break opportunities for Colfax, but also allowed the Vikings to set up full court pressure,” he said.
“Colfax was able to speed us up, and put us in some difficult situations. They wore us down physically with their pressure and execution in the half court,” added Bellanti.
“At this point in our season, we are unable to simulate that kind of pressure in our practices, so these games are valuable learning experiences for our team. We need to continue to be positive, stay focused on the fundamentals, and we’ll see progress on the floor,” concluded Bellanti.
For a second straight game, creating offense proved to be a difficult task for Glenwood City.
The Lady Toppers netted just ten, first-half points off a Devynn Olson three and two-point hoops by Kendall Schutz, Jenna McCarthy, and Izzy Davis and a free throw from Michaela Blaser to trail the Ramblers 45-10 at halftime at the Western Wisconsin Classic in Colfax.
Glenwood City managed 14 points in the second half but finished with less points than Regis’ top scorer, Makenna Rohrscheib, who finished with 28 points in the Ramblers 75-24 shellacking.
Ava Highman and Ashley Chilson added 17 and 12 points, respectively, for Regis.
Senior Kendall Schutz was Glenwood City’s top point-getter with seven after hitting a trey and a basket in the second half. Blaser and Davis each chipped in for six points.