Saying Glenwood’s start to the season has been a rollercoaster is an understatement. The Rams currently hold a 3-2 record with wins over Thomas Jefferson (74-52), Creston (73-51) and Saint Albert (61-43), and losses on the road against Lewis Central (59-75) and Atlantic (74-85). Glenwood’s up-and-down season has come with its triumphs as well as its perils, as the Rams have shown flashes of greatness amidst struggles.
While a 3-2 start wasn’t what the defending state champions were hoping for, head coach Curt Schulte remains optimistic, pointing out the good things he’s seen so far.
“We've been doing a pretty good job on controlling tempo in games and scoring in transition,” said Schulte.
Unfortunately for Glenwood, the Atlantic Trojans essentially beat them at their own game Tuesday night. Atlantic took advantage of the Rams’ fast-paced tempo, scoring several easy layups in transition and going on quick bursts to keep Glenwood at arm’s length in the second half.
After trailing at the end of the first quarter, Christian Stanislav caught fire, knocking down shots left and right. The Rams took a 41-35 lead into the half, but it was all downhill from there. Atlantic played a nearly flawless third quarter to take a 64-49 lead into the final period. Despite a late push from the Rams, Chase Mullenix and the Trojans held on to win 85-74.
Schulte believes the loss to Atlantic, as well as the 75-59 blowout loss to Lewis Central exactly a week prior, could serve as valuable learning points for his team. He mentioned three things the Rams need to improve upon: free throw shooting and turnovers.
Glenwood’s woes from the free throw line began in the first contest against Thomas Jefferson and have only worsened, as the Rams are currently shooting a lackluster 51% from the foul line.
Both Schulte and Stanislav noted Glenwood’s much-needed improvement on the defensive side of the court. The Rams are currently allowing an average of 61.6 points per game, compared to last year’s 38.8 mark through five games against the same five opponents.
“I think the team has to improve a lot on defense,” Stanislav said. “I think that shows by losing to Atlantic and allowing 85 points.”
Stanislav is correct in that 85 points is a lot in a 32-minute ball game, especially against a team that had only cracked 60 points once in the previous four games.
Despite the flaws, there are many positives to take away. The first being the fact that Stanislav is currently the Hawkeye Ten’s leading scorer, and by a large margin. The 6-foot-4 senior is averaging a whopping 27.2 points per game following his 34-point effort against Atlantic.
“I’m just doing my best to put the team in a position to win,” Stanislav said.
Schulte believes Stanislav’s scoring is not the only facet of the game he is excelling in.
“Christian is shooting the ball really well, but he's also doing a nice job of attacking the glass and getting offensive rebounds.”
Stanislav is not the only Ram putting up solid numbers so far. Ryan Blum has been nothing short of great in the beginning of his sophomore campaign. Blum averages 16.4 points per game and is showing promise on the defensive end, taking on the challenge of guarding players as many as five inches taller than him.
Zach Carr is Glenwood’s third leading scorer, averaging just over 11 points per game and leading the Rams in total assists. Carr poured in 17 points and dished five assists against Atlantic. Other varsity contributors have included Ryan Leath, Cade Van Ness, Dax Lappala and Jack Hughes, all of whom are seniors.
A balanced attack will be needed as Glenwood has another tough test ahead. The Rams will host Denison, who has been the outright shocker in the 2018 season so far. The Monarchs currently sit at 4-1, with major upset wins on the road against Lewis Central and Harlan, and at home against Carroll. Coming off a 23-point rout of Red Oak, the Monarchs are primed to give the Rams a run for their money in Glenwood.
Stanislav believes that Rams will be prepared to bounce back against Denison.
“We plan on having some solid practices to prepare and work on our defense before Friday.”
Glenwood and Denison tip-off at 7:30PM.