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The Rambler

Fifth-Ranked Rams Catch Fire, Punch Ticket to State Tournament

Players share an emotional moment after sealing a victory over Harlan to punch their ticket to the State Tournament.

Players share an emotional moment after sealing a victory over Harlan to punch their ticket to the State Tournament.

Photo by Autumn Aspedon

Photo by Autumn Aspedon

Players share an emotional moment after sealing a victory over Harlan to punch their ticket to the State Tournament.

Nick Stavas, Managing Editor

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The boys’ basketball team advanced to the state tournament for the third time in school history and the first time since 2015 following an 82-69 win over rival Harlan Monday night. A hot night from the three point line and a late run allowed Glenwood to punch its ticket to state in front of an electric atmosphere at Abraham Lincoln Fieldhouse.

“I thought we played really well; both teams did,” said head coach Curt Schulte. “It was kind of a game of runs, and we ended up on the right side of it. I really thought we did some great things, especially in the fourth quarter.”

The fourth quarter was in fact Glenwood’s most stellar period of the game. The Rams scored 25 points and knocked down all but one free throw to seal the victory over the Cyclones.

Senior guard Nate Mohr led the scoring charge, pouring in 27 points and nailing four three pointers on the night, some from extremely deep.

“My performance came from them focusing totally on Andrew, so I got really good looks and just shot them with confidence,” Mohr said.

Harlan ran a “1-3 chaser” defense, putting the majority of its defensive emphasis on shutting down Glenwood senior forward Andrew Blum, who had scored a combined 48 points against the Cyclones in their first two meetings this season. This defense, of course, allowed the rest of Glenwood’s lineup to light up the scoring column.

Junior Christian Stanislav played arguably the best game of his career, nearly nabbing a triple-double. Stanislav finished with 25 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists on the night.

“I knew that I needed to step up once I saw that they were face guarding Andrew and my teammates just got the ball to me really well,” said Stanislav.

Both teams came out firing, as Harlan knocked down three three-pointers in a row to start the game. However, the Rams closed the gap quickly after a few buckets from freshman Ryan Blum coming off the bench. The second quarter was back and forth the whole way, as Glenwood took a two point lead into halftime.

The Rams had no issues adjusting to Harlan’s unorthodox defense.

“We prepared for it in those two days of practice. We thought we would probably see some type of gimmick defense,” said Schulte. “We weren’t sure that they would take Andrew out like that, but the other guys really stepped up; they’re true gamers.”

Eight more minutes of neck-and-neck basketball was the case in the third quarter, as the Rams rode the scoring of Mohr, Stanislav and Ryan Blum to a four-point lead heading into the fourth quarter.

It wasn’t long before the Rams found themselves celebrating in center-court with the Glenwood student body following a game-ending run in the fourth quarter.

“With how close we were the past two years, to just finally make it is great,” said Mohr.

The previous two substate games did not go as planned for the Rams, as they were upset by Perry two years ago, and then dropped a one-point heartbreaker to Atlantic last season. This time, the road to state was full of rival opponents for Glenwood.

“It’s an amazing feeling,” said Stanislav. “Making it by beating Harlan in substate feels great, but taking Atlantic down felt so much better because I think we sort of owed them one from last year.”

The Rams were not messing around in their 70-49 blowout victory over the Trojans in the district final last Friday. After a slow start and a close first half, Glenwood came out playing pesky defense and quickly smited any hopes Atlantic had of upsetting the top-seeded Rams.

The scoring was much more spread around in the district final, as Stanislav, Andrew Blum and sophomore Zach Carr all recorded 15 points, while Mohr put up 11.

“That’s one good thing about our team,” said Schulte. “We have different leading scorers about every other game, we have a lot of guys that can score the basketball.”

Stanislav also elaborated on the reason behind Glenwood’s late-season success. “I think that we are playing great basketball right now and everything seems to be going our way,” he said. “We’ve had a couple people step up in the postseason which is why I think we’re so hard to beat.”

Those people include Carr and Ryan Blum, two underclassmen that virtually no one expected to be playing this well right now. Carr was renowned following Friday’s game after hitting some huge three-pointers that sparked the Rams’ stellar second half. On the other hand, Ryan Blum’s 12-point performance against Harlan did not go unnoticed by Schulte.

“[Ryan] just continues to get better and better,” Schulte said. “Right now he’s not playing like a freshman, he’s playing within himself, smart basketball. It’s really just a great addition coming off the bench. He gives us a little bit extra scoring, and a little more help on the rebounding end as well.”

Glenwood is on a mission headed into its state appearance next week.

“We know what we’ve gotta do. It’s going to be a business trip, we’ll be prepared and we’re hoping to be up in Des Moines all week. We don’t want to go home early,” said Schulte.

The red-hot Rams received the fourth seed in the state tournament, their highest seed in school history. Glenwood will take on fifth-seeded Norwalk in a Class 3A quarterfinal matchup next Tuesday at 1:00 P.M. A full preview and more information on that game will be published later in the week on the Rambler.

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