Rams hold on in wild 60-55 district win over Atlantic
That’s the word Glenwood coach Curt Schulte used to describe his team’s effort in a wild, 60-55 victory over Atlantic in the Class 3A district opener tonight.
How else would one describe the determination and resolve of a Rams team that withstood a furious comeback that erased a 20 point lead and never looked down or out as they dug deep over the final five minutes to pull out a rugged postseason win?
“We showed a lot of grit,” Schulte said. “This team finds ways to win. Some teams maybe would have folded when things started going south. And we came back and hit some big shots in the fourth quarter and shot free throws really well in the second half.”
With the win, the Rams move on to meet Harlan (16-5) in Thursday’s district semifinals in Glenwood. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.
In the district opener, the Rams (15-7) led 17-12 after the opening frame and then scored the first nine points of the second quarter as part of a 15-2 run to extend their lead to 32-14 at halftime. That lead swelled to 20 just 15 seconds into the third quarter on Logyn Eckheart’s layup.
But the Trojans weren’t ready to call it a night.
Atlantic rattled off an 11-1 run to trim the lead to 35-25. By the end of the third period, the Rams’ lead was down 37-32.
However, Atlantic still wasn’t done. After being bottled up for just two half points, Colton Rasmussen rattled off eight straight points in the fourth quarter to give the Trojans their first lead at 41-39 with 5:23 to go.
The two teams would trade the lead five times over the next three minutes until the Trojans grabbed a 52-51 lead on Jayden Proehl’s runner with 1:23 to go.
After a Ram timeout, point guard Caden Johnson, who had played much of the second half in foul trouble, answered in a big way. His three-pointer with 1:14 to go gave Glenwood a slim 54-52 lead.
Rasmussen would hit 1-of-2 free throws on the other end to leave the Rams clinging to a 54-53 lead with a minute to go.
With the clock running down on the ensuing possession, a blocked shot on Johnson led to a scramble for a loose ball that ended up in Kayden Anderson’s hands. The junior promptly drove the baseline and scooped in a reverse layup to put Glenwood ahead 56-53 with :40 seconds to go.
Rasmussen’s three pointer would clang off and Anderson would hit two free throws to seal the win.
Schulte called his team’s second and third quarters “a tale of two halves.”
“I was really pleased with our rebounding and our defense in the first half, we played some flawless basketball,” he said. “In the third quarter, they went on a run and we knew they would. We couldn’t hit shots and we had breakdowns. But I was really proud of our fourth quarter, we showed a lot of heart.”
Johnson led the Rams with 22 points.
Rasmussen paced the Trojans with 20 points, 13 of which came in the fourth quarter.
“If we hadn’t have pulled this one out, I don’t think I would have slept for a year,” Schulte said. “They hit big shot after big shot and kept rolling.”
The Rams lost both meetings with the Trojans in the regular season by a combined eight points. Schulte is happy to have this third game at home.
“We know each other well and I’m looking forward to it,” he said. “We have two days to get ready for them. We know we have our hands full.”