Cold shooting Rams fall to Knights

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By Joel Stevens, Associate Editor

     Kuemper Catholic jumped out to a 10-1 lead and led by as many as 21 in a 55-36 Hawkeye 10 Conference girls basketball victory over Glenwood on Friday.

    “They jumped out early on us and had a real good start. Our pressure really didn’t affect them much and they were able to get some easy buckets,” said Glenwood coach Barry Loeffelbein. “We just didn’t play well or shoot it well.”
     The loss is the Rams first in the conference and drops their overall record to 4-3 on the season.

Glenwood 49,
Red Oak 47
    Grace Newman has hit big shots before.
    The Glenwood senior recalls last hitting a game-winning shot in middle school. A three-pointer, she said.
    The stakes were a bit higher last Tuesday as Newman’s running bank shot with 2.7 seconds left lifted Glenwood to a 49-47 victory over Red Oak to keep the Rams perfect in the Hawkeye 10 Conference.
    “It’s what we practice,” said Glenwood coach Barry Loeffelbein after the game. “We have a high post screen for Grace and someone in the corner for her to kick it to if it’s not there. They ran it well and she hit the shot. You’d rather not be in that position to start with but it worked.”
    The first half was anything but perfectly executed by Glenwood. The Rams had nearly as many turnovers (12) as points (15) and Newman, the team’s leading scorer, had just one point on 0-for-9 shooting from the field.
    “It was terrible,” Loeffelbein said of his team’s first half play. “We could not throw a pass from one player to another, we couldn’t defend well either. We weren’t sharp. Everything looks so much worse when you’re not shooting well and we couldn’t throw it in the ocean. It was not a pretty half.”
    Despite their struggles, Glenwood trailed just 22-15 at the break.
    Glenwood came out after halftime fired up and warmed up.
    Newman scored seven of the Rams’ first eight points to trim the Tigers’ lead to 24-23. But Newman was whistled for her third foul with 4:17 to go in the frame, sending her to the bench. When Newman returned later in the quarter, the Tigers lead had swelled to 30-25.
    Red Oak stretched that lead to 36-29 early in the fourth quarter.
    That’s when Glenwood really heated up.
    Three straight Tiger turnovers led to a three pointer by Emily Blum and two more from Newman to give the Rams their first lead since early in the first quarter at 38-36.
    But just as Glenwood appeared to be taking control, the Tigers went on a run of their own. A layup by Grace Blomstedt and a free throw by Kathryn Walker keyed a 11-4 run to put Red Oak back in front 47-40 with 1:45 to go in the game.
    Glenwood, however, wouldn’t go away.
    Loeffelbein jump started his offense with defense. A pair of free throws by Halie Darrow allowed the Rams to set up their full-court pressure. Glenwood forced a steal on the ensuing possession leading to a Blum three pointer to trim the lead to 47-45 with 53 seconds remaining.
    “I told the girls at halftime we were going to press every trip,” Loeffelbein said. “That’s our best weapon. Put the heat on and try and get some easy ones. We did get them to turn it over a few times and that was probably key to us getting back in the game.”
    Blomstedt was fouled with 50.6 left but the sophomore center missed the front end of the one-and-one and Newman grabbed the rebound. Newman was fouled on the play and the senior guard nailed both free throws to knot the score at 47.
    After a timeout, Tigers’ coach Dan Martinez had Blake Bergren isolated on the top of the key with the intent of penetrating the Ram defense off the dribble for a final shot. But Bergren stumbled on the drive and was whistled for traveling, giving the ball back to Glenwood with 14.3 seconds left.
    After a timeout of his own, Loeffelbein called a play that would have point guard Sydney Gutschenritter bring the ball up and hitting Newman off a ball screen at the elbow. But Gutschenritter was covered leaving Newman to take the inbounds pass up the court on her own. Blum set a perfect screen to give Newman a split second to fire from 16 feet and hit the game-winner.
    “They were face guarding me so I had to take the ball up,” Newman said. “I saw them all there, like four against one but I just went for it. I actually practiced that shot over the weekend.”
    Newman, who finished with a game-high 25 points was mobbed by her teammates after the buzzer. After playing, admittedly, her “worst first half of the year,” the buzzer-beater was sweet redemption.
    “I knew I had to change my whole game up,” said Newman, who scored 24 points in the second half. “I had to focus on defense and other things. When I focus on something else, the other parts of my game come out.”
    Darrow chipped in nine points and Blum six for the Rams.
    Bergren and Blomstedt each scored 16 to lead the Tigers.
    The win puts the Rams to 3-0 in the conference and 4-2 overall on the season.