Tyler Jensen entered Glenwood game against Harlan second on the team in three pointers.
After Friday’s game, Jensen remained second on the team in made three’s but the 5-foot-7 senior took the lead in the clutch three pointer department.
Jensen’s three-pointer with 1:48 left broke a 44-44 tie and put the Rams up for good in a 50-46 Hawkeye 10 Conference victory over the Cyclones on Friday.
“That was a huge shot,” said Glenwood Coach Curt Schulte after the game. “That was probably the biggest shot of his career. We know he can knock those down. He’s a fighter and competitor. It was great to see that thing go in and get us a lead.”
In a quick, efficient first half of play that saw the teams combine for just four fouls, the two teams traded leads multiple times with Glenwood heading into intermission up 25-24.
The Ram defense effort bottled up the Cyclones’ shooters and contained their dribble penetration most of the first half.
“We wanted to keep them out of the lane,” Schulte said. “We know they’re great three-point shooters so we wanted to pressure up front on them and make it difficult for them to get into things. For the most part, I thought we did a good job contesting shots and making them earn shots.”
In the third quarter, the Cyclones warmed up, using an 8-0 run, capped by a short jumper by Trey Lansman to take a 36-30 lead with just over two minutes to go. But Glenwood wouldn’t be deterred. Grant May’s three pointer capped a 6-0 Ram run that knotted the score at 36. A late three by the Cyclones put them ahead 39-36 to the end the frame.
The two teams traded baskets to open the fourth. After Corey Bertini hit his second three-pointer of the quarter to put Glenwood up 44-42, the Rams’ defense held and had a chance to extend their lead but a steal and layup by Gabe Ferry tied the score again with 2:35 to go.
On their next possession, the Rams’ motion offense worked like a charm when May found Jensen on a ball reversal from the left wing. Jensen drained the three to put Glenwood up 47-44 with 1:48 to go.
The Cyclones failed to answer on offense and with four fouls to give, the Rams ran over nearly a minute of clock before going to free throw line. May hit 1-of-2 at the line to push the lead to 48-44 with :46.5 to go.
Nate Kloewer scored on a put back to cut the lead to 48-46.
Harlan would have a chance on the ensuing inbound pass when J.J. Hahn got tangled with a defender and a jump ball was called giving possession back to the Cyclones. But Jensen would come up big again, grabbing a steal and finding May streaking down the sideline.
The Rams missed three straight free throws in the final 17 seconds before Gage Shatava calmly sank two free throws to ice the win with :06.2 left.
“I was kind of nervous there because we weren’t hitting our free throws down the stretch,” Schulte said. “I think Gage Shatava knocking down those two free throws were absolutely huge for us. He’s coming off the bench for us, he’s a junior and think those were probably the biggest points of his career. He looked like a veteran shooting them.”
The win snaps a four-game losing skid for the Rams, and, more importantly, Schulte said, gives his team some confidence they’d been lacking in those closes losses to Council Bluffs Lewis Central, Creston, Red Oak and Atlantic.
“We have played a ton of close games,” Schulte said. “Our last four, I think, we’ve lost by six or eight points against some good teams. We played Creston, they’re rated in the top 10. We played Atlantic, they’re in the top 10 and we played on the road at Red Oak. It’s finally good to see our kids finish. That’s what we say coming out of the huddle, ‘Finish.’ And we did what we needed to do and I’m proud of them.”
Glenwood knocked off the Cyclones a year ago on their home court for Schulte’s first win over his alma mater.
“We always know they’re going to solid and tough and we’ll have to play a good ballgame,” he said. “And I thought for the most part, we put together a solid 32 minute ballgame. We played pretty well defensively and offensively did things when we needed to it.”
Schulte said he hopes the Harlan win can be the catalyst for his team in late-season run.
“We’re still working our consistency, the mental things,” Schulte said. We’ll play some of the best teams in the state to the wire and then we’ll come out and not play that well. This is a good game to kind of get over that hump. That’s what we needed to do. I told the kids if we’re going to make a run let’s do it in late January into February. Hopefully this game can put us on that run.”
Jensen led the Rams with 13 points. Hahn added 12 and May 10.
Trey Lansman and Nathan Cave led Harlan with 16 points each.
Atlantic edged Glenwood 40-34 in Hawkeye 10 Conference boys basketball last Tuesday.
Stuart Heogh led Atlantic with 11 points.
Grant May’s 13 points paced Glenwood, who dropped to 5-8 overall and 3-6 in the conference.