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by Joel DeWitt
Prior to the break, the Glenwood City Boys’ basketball team got their first win of the season and were hoping to continue their winning ways. The team would have three opportunities in the first week of January to notch that second win, or more. However, they would struggle to finish games out and dropped all three.
The Hilltoppers would start the week on January 4 hosting a non-conference opponent in Clear Lake. This would be a game of streaks which would see the Hilltoppers down early but fight back to lead at halftime. However, the Warriors would have the final say and hold on for a 55-53 win.
They would then travel south to take on a tough Spring Valley team on January 7. The Cardinals would prove to be too much for the Hilltoppers as they would fall 68-36.
Then the Hilltoppers headed to Independence to take on a winless Indee team. While the Toppers jumped out to an early lead, Independence would have just enough offense to hold onto a 46-39 victory.
“We are still trying to find a consistent flow and we will continue to put in the work and push each other in practice to get the most out of our potential,” said Coach Patrick Olson
The Hilltoppers (1-8, 1-4) will have two chances in the coming week to find that consistency. They host conference foe Mondovi on Thursday, January 13. Glenwood City will then host Houston, MN on Saturday, January 15 at 2 p.m. to wrap up the week.
The Hilltoppers started the new year off by hosting a 6-1 Warrior squad that is among the top teams in the Lakeland conference. Clear Lake would start the game on a 9-0 run to put Glenwood City in an early hole. However, an easy layup by Owen Swenby would spark a Topper run. Glenwood City would score the next three buckets to pull within one at 9-8.
The remainder of the first half would stay tight as the Hilltoppers and Warriors would exchange the lead. It wouldn’t be until the end of the first half when the Toppers would take their biggest lead of the night when back-to-back buckets by Swenby and Drew Olson would put Glenwood up 28-24.
Unfortunately for the Hilltoppers, they wouldn’t be able to hold onto that lead. Clear Lake would take control midway through the second half and hold on for the 55-53 victory. The win for the Warriors can largely be attributed to their three-point shooting, which they were 7-19 on the evening.
“We played our best game of the season so far against a tough Clear Lake team”, indicated Olson. “We shot the ball well, our turnover to assist ratio is where we want it to be but a few costly turnovers at the end and a big three by Clear Lake proved to be too much at the end.”
The Hilltoppers shot a season high 57% from the field and had four scorers notch double digit points. Brady McCarthy and Olson led the way with 12 points apiece, while Elek Anderson and Swenby followed close behind with 11 and ten points respectively.
For the second straight game the Hilltoppers would dig themselves an early hole that they would need to climb out of. The 7-1 Cardinals would jump out to a commanding 29-12 lead, however with 2:04 remaining in the first half Glenwood City would start chipping away.
Max Jason would hit a pair of free-throws to get things going for his team. Over the next four minutes of game time the Hilltoppers would cut into that lead. Starting in the third, trailing 30-17, Brady McCarthy would hit a three-pointer, and Elek Anderson would follow up with a short jumper to cut the lead to eight points.
However, Spring Valley would prove to be too strong. The Cardinals would outscore the Hilltoppers 38 to 14 down the stretch to seize the win 68-34.
“We have to continue to learn from each half and play a complete game,” Olson commented. “It was an eight-point game with 16 minutes left in the second and then turnovers again plagued us.”
The Hilltoppers committed 28 turnovers on the evening, compared to just nine for the Cardinals.
Anderson was the only Hilltopper to reach double figures scoring on the evening with ten.
The Hilltopper boys would conclude their week by traveling to Independence for a Saturday afternoon tilt. Unlike the previous two games this week, Glenwood City would find themselves up early. A strong full court press by the Hilltoppers and balanced scoring pushed them to the quick 14-7 lead.
However, Independence would adjust to the pressure and hit some timely shots. Along with that, the hot-shooting Hilltoppers cooled off which resulted in the Indees taking the 21-17 lead at half.
The second half would see the Hilltoppers and Indees knotted in a close contest. They would exchange leads eight times in the final 18 minutes. Trailing by four points with 1:21 remaining in the game, Drew Olson would hit a shot from five feet out and get fouled in the process. The free-throw would cut the lead to one at 40-39.
However, Independence would hit a three-pointer on the next possession to extend the lead and hold on for the 46-39 win.
Owen Swenby paced all Hilltopper scorers with 14 points. Brady McCarthy followed up with ten.