Ram comeback comes up short in 56-51 district loss

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By Joel Stevens, Associate Editor

    MONDAMIN – A gallant fourth-quarter comeback by Glenwood’s girls basketball team came up just short last Wednesday in the opening round of Class 3A, District 8 play.

    The Rams saw their season come to an end with a hard-fought  56-51 loss to No. 5-ranked Sergeant Bluff-Luton. Glenwood finished the year with a 16-6 record while the Warriors improved to 21-2 and moved on to meet Harlan in the regional semifinals.
    “We tried to make a game of it, but we just couldn’t get over the hump in the end,” Glenwood coach Barry Loeffelbein said. “I was really proud of them. A lot of teams would have given up and thrown in the towel.”
    Glenwood trailed for almost the entire game and by as many as 16 points with just over five minutes left in the fourth quarter. However, with the help of full-court and half-court pressure defense, the Rams went on a ferocious 17-2 run late in the game to quickly turn the contest into a nail-biter.
    The Glenwood comeback started with a pair of free throws from Lexi Fisher, a bucket from Morgan Lucy and a barrage of three-point baskets from Grace Newman, Lexi Moreno and Ana Van Scoy.
    Van Scoy’s trey cut the deficit to 48-43 with 2:51 to play. Twenty seconds later, Newman was fouled as she nailed another three. Newman completed the four-point play at the free throw line to bring the Rams to within a point at 48-47.
    The Warriors scored the next four points of the game to go back up by five points, but Glenwood refused to surrender. Fisher hit a three pointer and sank a free throw on back-to-back possessions to bring the Rams back to within 52-51 with 1:21 to play.
    After a timeout, Sergeant Bluff-Luton went into a stall and successfully ran the clock down to under 25 seconds. The Rams finally fouled Paige O’Neal, who converted one of two free throws to make the score 53-51.
    On their ensuing possession, the Rams got the ball into the hands of Moreno who got herself open behind the three-point line. Her shot, however, bounced off the rim and the Warriors pulled down the rebound, forcing the Rams to immediately foul Betsy Thomas, who went to the line and iced the game with two free throws.
    The Rams finished the night with 51 points, despite scoring just 10 in the first half. The Warriors led 24-10 at intermission.
    “In the second half, we tried to get people moving and shooting with some confidence,” Loeffelbein said. “We told the girls at halftime that we just needed a couple of trips up the floor to get back into the game.”
    The Rams did come out in the third quarter with more purpose on offense and quickly cut the Warrior lead to single digits. The Warriors led just 37-28 after three quarters, but opened the fourth quarter with a 9-2 run, setting the stage for the Rams’ late run.
    Glenwood finished the night with three players scoring in double figures – Lucy and Newman both tallied 14, while Fisher added a dozen.
    Thomas paced the Warriors with 19 points. Cassidy Breon chipped in 16.
    Loeffelbein said despite the disappointing end to the season, the Rams should be proud of their accomplishments this season. The Rams have the nucleus of their team coming back next year, including eight of their top 10 scorers.
    “We definitely took a step forward (this season),” Loeffelbein said. “We just need to get over the hump and start closing out some of these close ones.”