Momentum is fickle.
Just ask Denison.
One minute the Monarchs are up five points and in control of their Hawkeye 10 Conference basketball game at Glenwood last Tuesday.
Less than 20 seconds and a Grant May 19-footer later, the game is tied and headed into overtime where Glenwood scores the first eight points of the extra frame to snatch a victory from the jaws of defeat in a 66-59 win before a reporter-estimated crowd of 400.
“I thought we dominated in overtime,” said Glenwood coach Curt Schulte after the game. “When he (May) hit that shot the momentum was all on our side and it carried over into the last four minutes.”
From the start, the game saw momentum swing both ways.
After trailing 10-6 after a sluggish first quarter, Glenwood rallied for a 15-8 second-quarter run to take a 21-18 lead into halftime.
In the third quarter, the Monarch’s took the momentum back and held for most of the second half. Denison opened the third on a 15-4 run to turn a three-point deficit into a 33-25 lead with 3:12 to go. But the Rams’ didn’t panic and plugged away, cutting the lead to 39-34 by the end of the frame.
“The thing about this group is we do have kids that played last year and they understand situations,” Schulte said. “We do situation work all the time in practice. These weren’t things we hadn’t seen before. We work situations where we’re down six or eight with three minutes left and that’s been very beneficial for us. We kept our composure and believed in each other.”
Back-to-back baseline jumpers by Corey Bertini and a pair of free throws and a three-pointer by Gage Shatava gave Glenwood it’s first lead since halftime at 43-42 with just over five minutes to go in the game.
But the Monarchs battled back to tie the game and set up a thrilling final three minutes.
A three-pointer by Derek Hall, who finished with a game-high 25 points, gave Denison the lead once again. It was a lead they would hold until just 19.1 seconds remained. Following a pair of free throws by Hall to put the Monarchs ahead 56-51, the momentum began to shift.
May’s running three-pointer with 6.1 left cut the lead to 56-54. After a Glenwood timeout to set up their full court pressure, Bertini stole a pass at halfcourt and the Rams immediately called timeout.
Schulte knew immediately who would take his last shot: May, the senior guard playing just his second game since dislocating a finger in December.
May didn’t disappoint. His long jumper – his toe was straddling the three-point line – at the buzzer sent the game into overtime.
“The thing is we needed to create turnovers and get the ball back and create opportunities and we did that,” Schulte said. “Grant May came up huge for us. He was the moneyman. He wanted the ball late and we got him the ball. He hits the three (pointer) late and then sends us into overtime. When the game’s on the line, he’s a competitor, he wanted the ball, we gave it to him and he knocked it down.”
The Rams didn’t waste their second chance. A J.J. Hahn layup and a pair of free throws sandwiched around a Brady Douma runner put Glenwood in front 62-56 with just over two minutes to go. May’s coast-to-coast layup following a Monarch miss all but sealed it for Glenwood.
Time and again in the first three and a half quarters, the Monarchs’ Hall, who entered the game averaging better than 18 points per game, hit big shots and kept the Rams at bay. But after scoring a game-high 25 points in regulation the senior guard went scoreless in the four-minute overtime. That wasn’t a coincidence to the Rams’ success, Schulte said.
“That’s one thing we really stressed,” Schulte said. “We knew he’s their money guy and anytime they needed points he was their guy. And Grant did a good job with him overtime and we also sent another guy at him in overtime to try and make him force shots or give it up. I think we did a good job with that in overtime. I wish we had done it a little sooner.”
The Monarchs’ tough 2-3 zone gave Glenwood trouble at times but they turned ball over just eight times and had eight different players score, led by May’s 19 and Hahn’s 18.
“We have unselfish players,” Schulte said. “They don’t care who scores as long as they score. I thought out movement was good and we moved the ball well side to side. When shots don’t go it doesn’t always look as great. We had good shots, they just weren’t going down for us early.”
C.B. Lewis Central 41,
Glenwood could not hang on to a 23-21 halftime lead as Council Bluffs Lewis Central rallied behind 20 points from Alex Reed for 41-35 victory over the Rams on Friday.
Reed hit 14-of-16 shots at the free throw line in the win.
Grant May led the Rams with 10. Corey Bertini added nine and Tyler Jensen eight.