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by Joel DeWitt
CLAYTON – The Hilltopper boys’ basketball team wrapped up 2021 with a trip to Clayton on December 21 to take on a one-win Bears team. While Glenwood City has struggled to score points up to this point in the season, they would find their range and put up 51 points in a 51-30 victory over Clayton.
“We continue to improve with our shot selection process and learning the natural flow of a game,” Coach Patrick Olson mentioned on his team’s offensive performance. “Our defense was also a big factor in our ability to get high percentage shots.”
The high percentage shots would be key for the Hilltoppers on this evening. While they went 0-10 from beyond the arc, their interior shots were their bread and butter. Glenwood City shot 54% from inside the three-point line which enabled them to pull away from Clayton.
Scoring would start early for the Hilltoppers. After getting the opening tipoff, Drew Olson hit a 15-foot jumper to give his team the lead. After trading a few buckets to knot the score at five apiece, Elek Anderson would hit a shot in the lane to give Glenwood City the 7-5 lead and trigger a huge Hilltopper run.
Over the next eight minutes Glenwood City would go on an 18-2 run to extend their lead to 23-7 with 4:13 left in the half. The run was largely due to timely shooting and great defensive play. The Hilltoppers would have full court pressure on the ball forcing Clayton to turnover the ball and leading to some easy buckets.
“Defense is our identity and players are held to this expectation,” said Coach Olson. “Defense requires effort and team play which these players have embraced.”
Glenwood City would start the second half leading 26-13 and would quickly extend it. Brady McCarthy would hit a short jumper to start the scoring out. Anderson followed that up with a bucket a few possessions later to extend the lead to 30-13.
The Hilltoppers would continue to pressure the Bears on both sides of the court, forcing turnovers leading to easy opportunities. The Hilltoppers would see their lead balloon to 25 points with less than three minutes remaining.
Olson would put in a missed shot for the bucket and the foul. He’d hit the free-throw for the three-point play and extend the lead to 49-24. The Toppers would cruise from there to the 51-30 win.
“It was a great team win,” Olson commented. “I was proud of our boys for putting all facets of the game together to get the win.”
Glenwood City had three players score in double digits on the evening. Olson led the way with 17 points on the evening, a season high. McCarthy and Anderson following close behind with 13 and 12 points respectively.
The Hilltoppers, now 1-5, have a short break before they begin play again. They have a home contest with Clear Lake Tuesday, January 4 at 5:45 p.m. They then travel to Spring Valley on January 7 and Independence on January 8 to wrap up a busy first week of the new year.