Ram State Of Mind

COUNCIL BLUFFS – The Glenwood Rams are going to state for the third time in program history.

Monday night, nearly three years to the day since punching the school’s first ticket to state since 1952, the Rams survived a Harlan three-point barrage in Council Bluffs with some hot shooting of their own late in the game to preserve an 82-69 victory in the Class 3A sub-state finals. The win secured a spot in next week’s state tournament.

“We’ve had some pretty good luck here (Abraham Lincoln gym) – it’s got a little bit of magic,” said Glenwood coach Curt Schulte after the game.

The win and the state bid was a vindication for Schulte’s squad after heartbreaking losses by one point last year and in overtime the previous year in their last two substate finals.

“This was unfinished business for us,” Schulte said. “We took a heartbreaker last year in the substate final and the boys have worked so hard in the last 365 days to get back to this moment. I’m so happy for the kids. They wanted this so bad. Our motto all year was ‘unfinished business.’ We got it done and we’re heading to Des Moines.”

Finishing the business was never easy for Glenwood.

After getting down as many as eight in the first quarter, the Rams scored the final five points of the frame to take a 19-18 lead into the second.

A quick 9-0 burst by the Rams extended the run to 14-0 and a 28-18 lead with just over five minutes to go in the half.
But the Cyclones – in a scenario that would play out a half dozen times over the final two and a half quarters – rallying behind its long-distance shooting. Jacob Hansen’s third three-pointer of the first half capped a 10-0 run for Harlan to knot the score at 28-28.

Glenwood would take a 37-35 lead into intermission.

Three times in the third quarter, the Rams would extend their lead to seven points and appear poised to pull away as they did in their previous two wins over their Hawkeye 10 Conference rivals. And all three times Harlan either trimmed the lead back to a slim two or tied it.

The two teams combined to hit nine three-pointers in the third quarter but Glenwood clung to a 57-53 lead heading into the final quarter.

After Christian Stanislav’s three-pointer ran the lead to 60-53 with just over seven minutes to go, Harlan, once again, trimmed it to just two points at 63-61 less than two minutes later.
But Glenwood wouldn’t be fazed.

An Andrew Blum layup and a Stanislav putback put the Rams back in front by seven. The Cyclones would answer with a three of their own to make it 67-64 but Mohr, after working the perimeter of the Harlan zone, knocked down a 23 footer from the right wing to make it 70-64.

The bucket appeared to take some wind out of the Cyclones’ sails.

Following a miss on the ensuing possession, the Rams’ Nate Kennedy scored off an Andrew Blum dish and Mohr scored on a layup and then a runner to give the Rams their biggest lead of the game to that point at 76-65 with 1:20 to go.

Harlan would hit just one of its final eight shots from the field over the final 80 second as Glenwood iced the win by going 6-of-6 at the line.

“We wanted to shorten the game once we had a three-possession lead on them,” he said. “We shoot free throws well and we handle the ball real well so we thought we could go ahead and shorten it. If we had a lay-up, we’d take it. If not, we wanted to burn clock and make free throws. And that’s what we did.”

The Cyclones never led after the first quarter but their shooting kept them in the game and the Rams never far away. For the night, Harlan hit 13-of-28 three-pointers.

“They were on fire; I was just hoping they’d cool down,” Schulte said. “I’m not sure how many they had but they had a lot. My hat’s off to them. They played a fabulous game. I know there were a lot of people here – I don’t know how many there were, maybe 1,800 – but they got their money’s worth. This was two good teams going after each other and that’s what substate finals are all about.”

Mohr and Stanislav led four Rams in double-figures with 27 and 25 points each, respectively. Kennedy and Ryan Blum each added 12.

Logan Klaassen paced Harlan with 22 points. Shane Chamberlain, the Cyclones’ leading scorer at 19.2 per game entering, was limited to a season-low five points.

The Rams, who open state play at the Wells Fargo Arena next Tuesday, had not found out their state tournament opponent by press time.

When asked Monday night if he’s given any thought to a possible first round opponent, the coach wasn’t ready to turn the page from celebrating with his team and the Glenwood fans that swarmed the floor for the net-cutting ceremony.

“I don’t care right now,” said the coach of who his team might play at state. “I really don’t care. I’m going to enjoy the night. I’m going to enjoy the night with the boys and worry about that tomorrow.”

Glenwood 70,
Atlantic 49

It had been 45 days since Glenwood lost a game in the state of Iowa.

That’s 1,080 hours they had to contemplate a stunning, 59-41 loss at Atlantic on  an otherwise spotless Hawkeye 10 Conference record.

The Rams, apparently, put that time to good use.

A juggled line up and a smothering defensive effort turned a three point halftime lead into a 56-38  margin to end the third quarter as the Rams pulled away for a 70-49 win over the Trojans in the Class 3A, Substate 8 district finals before a reporter-estimated crowd of 1,700 in Glenwood.

The Rams will play Harlan (15-7) with a trip to the state tournament on the line Monday night. The substate final is Glenwood’s fifth straight.

“We were ready,” said Glenwood coach Curt Schulte, whose 21-2 team’s only other loss was an interstate defeat on the road at Nebraska Class B No. 2 ranked Skutt Catholic. “We had some really good practices leading up to this one. We felt confident coming in. We’ve had a really solid last month of the season and we’re playing our best basketball right now and the kids played  32 really solid minutes tonight.”

After a slow start – missing 10 of their first 13 shots – Glenwood’s best basketball began to surface in the second quarter.

The Rams led by as many as 11 in the second frame before the Trojans’ closed the half on a 13-4 spurt to cut the lead to 27-24 at the break.

If Glenwood’s best basketball began to surface in the second quarter, it absolutely exploded in the third.

The Rams  came out after intermission with guard Zach Carr in place of center Cody Buresh. The new lineup gave Glenwood five shooters on the floor and it gave Atlantic fits – on both ends of the court.

A pair of Nate Mohr free throws, a Christian Stanislav dunk and a Nate Kennedy layup – all three coming off Atlantic turnovers – kicked off a 17-6 run highlighted by back-to-back three pointers from Carr.

Mohr’s three pointer at the third quarter buzzer gave Glenwood its biggest lead of the game to that point at 56-38.
For the quarter, Glenwood out-scored the Trojans 29-14.

“They’re a good basketball team and this is a game of runs,” Schulte said. “We knew they’d go on runs and they did. We just had to withstand those runs. We were able to come out in that third quarter and really jump on them and got that lead to 12 within a couple minutes. We always want to establish ourselves in that third quarter and that’s kind of how this game went.”

Trojan coach Alan Jenkins agreed, saying after the game the Rams’ “small ball” lineup was a problem his team never adjusted to.

“The third quarter was rough on us,” Jenkins said. “When I saw their starting five come out (for the second half) my biggest fear was played out in front of me. They had five guards who could all shoot it and I knew we were at a disadvantage defensively.”

For Schulte, how the lineup change effected his offense was one thing, but his team’s renewed focus on the defensive end in the third quarter was really the lynch pin. The Rams’ ability to press out on the wings and deny entry passes to all-conference center Scott Leonard took the Trojans out of their offense. Atlantic also turned the ball over eight times in the frame.

“We needed to create tempo and we did that with our defense,” Schulte said. “They’re good in their half court sets and we wanted to make sure this was an up-and-down game and for the most part, we controlled the tempo most of the game.”

The Rams lead swelled to 20 in the opening seconds of the fourth quarter.

The Trojans cut the lead to 58-46 with five minutes to go but could get no closer.

The win didn’t just avenge the Rams’ January loss to these same Trojans. Atlantic also edged Glenwood 69-68 in last year’s substate finals to earn a trip to the state tournament.

“I have the utmost respect for Atlantic and what they do, they’re very well coached,” Schulte said. “This was a big game. A rivalry game. Rivalry games are always fun to win and we were hungry from last year. We played all season with a chip on our shoulder a little bit after that substate championship game (last year). Our motto was ‘unfinished business’ all season. This is just one step toward the direction we want to go.”

Carr, Stanislav and Andrew Blum each scored 15 points to lead the Rams. Mohr added 11.

“We have balanced scoring,” Schulte said. “A lot of nights we have a different guy leading us being the high scorer.

Tonight we had four guys in double figures and when you have that tremendous balanced scoring its tough to defend.”
Chase Mullenix led Atlantic with 12 points. Leonard and Austin Alexander each finished with 11 points.

The Trojans finish their season with a record of 14-9.

The Opinion-Tribune

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