With his team up 20 points with just over three minutes to go in the third quarter, Glenwood boys basketball coach Curt Schulte didn't look like a coach whose team was up 20.
Turns out, the coach was right.
Trailing 39-19 at one time, Kuemper Catholic rallied over the final 11 minutes of the game to cut the Rams' lead to 50-46 before Glenwood rallied -- hitting 17-of-22 free throws in the fourth quarter -- to hold on for a 61-55 victory before a reporter estimated 1,100 in Glenwood Friday.
“I think we got a little complacent,” Schulte said of his team’s late game malaise. “I thought we played well but we left the door open for them. We gave them a spurt but we hit the free throws when they counted down the stretch.”
After a 10-10 first quarter, Glenwood (6-6 overall, 5-5 in the Hawkeye 10 Conference) heated up in the second, opening the frame on an 11-2 run. Drake Ruth’s lay up off Cole Darrow’s steal put the Rams up 28-16 at halftime.
In the third quarter, Glenwood picked up right where they left off. An 11-3 run to open the quarter, capped by Cory Simms’ layup, put Glenwood ahead 39-19 with 3:13 to go.
But the Knights wouldn’t go away. Kuemper used its aggressive defense to force four turnovers in the next five Glenwood possessions and trim the Rams’ lead to 40-28. Matthew Berg’s buzzer beating 30-footer further trimmed the lead to 40-31 heading into the fourth quarter.
After trading baskets, Berg’s three pointer and putback cut the Rams’ lead to 48-43 with 3:01 to go.
Darrow responded with a coast-to-coast layup. But, once again, the Knights answered with a free throw by Taylor Pudenz and a lay up by Cody Williams to make it 50-46.
But that’s as close as Kuemper would get.
The Rams made more free throws (19) than the Knights shot (13) but before hitting 17-of-22 at the line in the fourth, they struggled, hitting 2-of-11 in the first three quarters.
“We knew we had them in the double-bonus early and we wanted to attack the basket and get to the free throw line. When we did that late it was successful,” Schulte said. “We hit them when they counted.”
Schulte sees a lot of similarities in the Knights, who the Rams beat 53-48 in Carroll in a an early December game.
“They’re a good match up for us,” said Schulte. “We match up size wise, athletically we’re pretty similar. We won by five up there but it was a very competitive game. We knew we were going to be for a game tonight. It was nice to get the win. We’re happy.”
Darrow led the Rams with 18 points but it was the strong inside play of Simms, who finished with 13 points, that provided the inside spark his team needed, Schulte said.
“He bodied up (center Andrew) Schleisman, he rebounded, he had a lot of putbacks and second opportunities. I think he played a whale of a ballgame,” he said.
Josh DeYoung pitched in 12 points and Drake Ruth added eight for Glenwood.
Berg led Kuemper with 17 points.