Take out one three-minute stretch at the end of the second quarter, and the Creston and Glenwood girls basketball teams looked like two evenly matched teams trading shot after shot.
But, several costly turnovers led to an 11-0 Glenwood run to close the final three minutes of the first half, giving the Rams a 26-12 advantage at the break in a 51-39 win over the Panthers here Wednesday in a Class 4A Region 7 quarterfinal.
“We just had about a three-minute stretch where we turned the ball over about four times and they got layups, and that was pretty much the difference in the game. It really was,” Creston head coach Larry McNutt said. “We battled them hard, and I was pretty proud of the girls. We really did a good job. Take out that little stretch, and we’re right there.”
Creston, behind strong defense in a box-and-one zone where sophomore Natalie Mostek face-guarded Glenwood senior Grace Newman, trailed just 15-12 when Glenwood went on its run.
Newman, who averages a team-high 14.3 points per game and had scored 29 of Glenwood’s 53 points against Creston in a Jan. 15 game, rarely touched the ball in the first half because of Mostek’s defense.
Newman’s lone basket in the first half came just before the halftime horn, as she ran off three screens along the baseline to get a look at a 3-pointer in the corner. She finished with just five points in the game.
“We spent three days working on it, and the girls did a great job executing the defensive gameplan,” McNutt said. “We just made the decision, I just wasn’t going to let Newman beat us again. She had 29 of their 53 at our place, and I just told the girls, that’s not going to happen. We did a good job on her. She didn’t even touch the ball for the longest time in the first half.”
“They really did a good job pressuring us and taking Grace out,” Glenwood head coach Barry Loeffelbein said. “I think they really played tough defense tonight and really got after us. It was a battle just getting shots off.”
Mostek started the second half with a basket and Chelcee Downing followed it up with a pull-up 3-pointer to cut the lead to nine. Another Downing 3-pointer moments later cut the lead to eight.
Late in the third quarter, Mostek passed to Zaidy Frank who put a jumper up off the glass to make the score 35-28.
Creston trailed 40-30 at the end of the third, but Glenwood quickly stretched the lead to 15 in the fourth quarter.
But Creston didn’t quit, closing the gap to 10 and at one point, and had a chance to cut the lead to eight on a 3-point attempt by Mostek that just missed.
“Creston knocked down a couple of shots and got it back down to 10,” Loeffelbein said. “It was a battle all the way. We could never shake loose of them. They made us work hard for everything.”
With the loss, Creston ends the season with a mark of 6-16. Glenwood, now 15-7, advances to take on Lewis Central on Saturday.
Two Panthers played in their final game Wednesday night. Seniors Brianna Maitlen and Emma Johnson saw their playing careers come to a close in the loss.
Maitlen finished with a team-high 10 points and eight rebounds in her career finale.
“Maitlen was great. I told her she had a better year than I ever thought she would,” McNutt said. “She was not a verbal leader, but she led on the court just by her play.
“Emma Johnson was a great senior. She’s a player coaches will love for ever, because she’s a great team player,” McNutt said. “Some nights she played a lot, and some nights she didn’t play very much. She didn’t ever complain one time. That’s really what being a team is all about.”
GLENWOOD (51) — Sydney Gutschenritter 5 2-2 14, Bailey Starner 4 2-3 13, Halie Darrow 4 1-2 10, Grace Newman 2 0-0 5, Reiny Ostrander 2 1-1 5, Emily Blum 2 0-0 4. Totals — 19 4-6 51. 3-pointers — 7 (Starner 3, Gutschenritter 2). Free throws — 4-6. Team fouls — 13. Fouled out — None.
CRESTON (39) — Brianna Maitlen 3 4-4 10, Zaidy Frank 4 1-2 9, Natalie Mostek 3 3-4 9, Chelcee Downing 3 0-0 8, Brenna Baker 0 2-2 2, Camryn Somers 0 1-2 1. Totals — 13 11-14 39. 3-pointers — 2 (Downing 2). Free throws — 11-14. Rebounds — Natalie Mostek 12, Maitlen 8, Frank 5, Downing 3, Baker 2. Steals — Natalie Mostek 2, Maitlen 1, Frank 1, Downing 1. Assists — Mostek 3, Frank 1, Baker 1. Team fouls — 11. Fouled out — None.
Glenwood — 10 26 40 51
Creston — 6 12 30 39