Glenwood boys basketball rallies after halftime to deliver landmark state tournament win

Glenwood boys basketball rallies after halftime to deliver landmark state tournament win
Glenwood players — from left, Ryan Leath, Zach Carr, Blake VonEssen and Nate Mohr — celebrate the Rams’ first state win since 1952. (World-Herald News Service)

DES MOINES — When you get outplayed that decisively, your halftime locker room naturally won’t be sunshine and roses.

“Some people were down, for sure,” Glenwood’s Andrew Blum said.

But then coach Curt Schulte reminded the Rams of what had happened two years ago. Glenwood trailed Atlantic 32-12 at the half of their district final before exploding for 51 second-half points to win by two.

With his team trailing Norwalk 40-22 at the half on Tuesday after being down 34-14 late in the second quarter, Glenwood senior Nate Mohr said there was one reason for optimism.

“We didn’t exactly waste too much energy that first half,” he said.

Fifth-rated Glenwood unleashed another remarkable comeback , following the lead of brothers Andrew and Ryan Blum to a  67-58 Class 3-A state quarterfinal victory over the No. 4 Warriors at Wells Fargo Arena.

The Rams hit Norwalk with an avalanche of 3-pointers, pressure defense and blocked shots to erase another 20-point first-half deficit. In a reversal from the first half, the Warriors  wilted under Glenwood’s relentless attack after the break.

“Our kids play off a lot of emotion,” Schulte said. “They play off our crowd. They play off our bench, the energy. Once they got the mojo going, they felt pretty good.

“Our crowd was awesome, even with the weather not being real nice today. We really represented Glenwood, the Hawkeye Ten and southwest Iowa well today.”

In only the school’s third state appearance, fourth-seeded Glenwood registered its first state victory in 66 years. The Rams (23-2) will meet two-time defending champion and No. 1 Cedar Rapids Xavier (19-6) in Thursday’s 2 p.m. semifinal. Fifth-seeded Norwalk closed at 22-3.

Trailing by 18 with five minutes left in the third quarter, Glenwood settled into the frenetic style in which it has thrived this season. The Rams outscored Norwalk 17-3 the rest of the period, getting seven points from Ryan Blum, four each from Nate Kennedy and Mohr, and two from Zach Carr.

“We came out with a lot of heart,” Andrew Blum said. “That’s the main thing.”

A free throw by Norwalk’s Luke Vaske tied it at 56 with 2:35 remaining. Then Christian Stanislav supplied perhaps the play of the game. He caught the ball at the 3-point line, passed on the shot and drove it hard to the basket. He scored, was fouled and completed the three-point play to put the Rams up 59-56 with 2:15 left.

Glenwood’s leading scorer at 15.7 per game, the 6-foot-5 Stanislav had been 2 for 9 from the field and 1 for 4 from 3 to that point.

“My 3s hadn’t been falling. I saw a lane toward the hoop and I just took it in and finished,” he said.

Vaske’s bankshot in the lane cut it to one with 1:54 left, but Mohr hit two free throws to make it 61-58 with 1:20 left. Vaske turned it over in heavy traffic and Mohr was credited with the steal. He made two more free throws, as Glenwood finished 18 of 19 (94.7 percent) from the line to pull away.

“It was just like a couple years ago in the district game when we came back,” Stanislav said. “We had our crowd with us, our bench with us. We had everybody on our side.”

Ryan Blum led Glenwood with 17 points, while Andrew Blum added 13 points and Mohr and Carr had 11 each.

Mohr’s perimeter defense was a big part of the comeback. He added five assists and three steals and made life difficult for Vaske, who finished with 17.

“We knew that was what needed to be changed,” Mohr said. “If we get stops, then the offense is just going to come.”Schulte was the last man standing in the media room. With all due respect to the 1952 team, he tried to make sense of the greatest day in Glenwood boys basketball history.

“I’m just blessed to be able to coach them for another three days,” he said with a smile.

Norwalk (22-3)…………19 21 7 11—58

Glenwood (23-2)………8 14 21 24—67

N: Luke Vaske 6-14 3-5 17, Blake Johnson 2-9 0-0 5, Bowen Born 3-7 2-2 8, Daniel Geistler 5-7 1-1 12, Tyler Endres 6-9 2-2 14, Cooper Beving 0-1 0-0 0, Carson Raper 0-0 0-0 0, Drew Rosonke 0-0 0-0 0, Tyler Johnson 1-2 0-1 2. Totals: 23-49 4-15 58.

G: Nate Kennedy 2-4 2-2 7, Nate Mohr 2-12 6-6 11, Cody Buresh 0-1 0-0 0, Andrew Blum 5-11 2-2 13, Christian Stanislav 3-10 1-1 8, Zach Carr 3-7 5-5 11, Ryan Blum 6-10 2-3 17, Blake Von Essen 0-0 0-0 0, Jake Murtfeld 0-0 0-0 0, Dax Lappala 0-0 0-0 0, Ryan Leath 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 21-55 18-19 67.

3-point goals: N 4-15 (Vaske 2-4, Geistler 1-2, Johnson 1-6, Born 0-1, Beving 0-1, Johnson 0-1), G 7-26 (R. Blum 3-7, Kennedy 1-3, A. Blum 1-4, Stanislav 1-4, Mohr 1-7, Carr 0-1). Total fouls: N 17, G 14. Fouled out: none. Technical fouls: none. Rebounds: N 30 (Vaske 6, Johnson 6), G 32 (A. Blum 8). Assists: N 8 (Vaske 4), G 12 (Mohr 5). Steals: N 3 (Vaske 2), G 8 (Mohr 3). Blocks: N 3 (Geistler 3), G 6 (A. Blum 3). Turnovers: N 11, G 5.

Freshman Ryan Blum helps lead Glenwood to Iowa Class 3-A state quarterfinal win against Norwalk

DES MOINES — Ryan Blum wanted to believe he could be a varsity contributor in his freshman season at Glenwood.

Courtesy of senior point guard Nate Mohr, that belief was strengthened in the last offseason.

“In the summer workouts, Nate would always come up to me and pick me on his team,’’ he said. “That gave me confidence.’’

The 15-year-old Blum played with the guile and polish of a veteran on Tuesday, joining forces with his senior brother Andrew Blum to carry the Rams past Norwalk 67-58 in a thrilling Class 3-A state quarterfinal at Wells Fargo Arena.

Ryan Blum finished with 17 points, six rebounds and two blocks, hitting 3-of-7 from 3-point range. He scored 14 of his 17 in the second half, when Glenwood was rallying from a 20-point deficit.

Andrew Blum added 13 points, eight rebounds, four assists, three blocks and two steals despite banging his shin on a chair chasing down a loose ball on the game’s first possession.

With roughly the same build, features and hair style, the Blums looked like clones of one another, wreaking havoc in the second half.

“Ryan’s been something special as a freshman, and Andrew’s been doing that his whole career,’’ Mohr said. “Nothing new.’’

The younger Blum said he’s been dreaming of Tuesday for many years with his brother. Andrew assisted on two of Ryan’s baskets.

“That’s just us out in the driveway,’’ Ryan said. “We always passed to each other. When we were kids, that’s all we would do, just go out in the driveway and shoot.’’

Andrew Blum said he’s proud of the way his younger brother, who has averaged 5.5 points this season, has progressed.

“He’s been a baller since he started playing with us when he was young, at practices and stuff,’’ he said. “It’s been a lot of fun to see him come into his role and really play well.’’

Glenwood coach Curt Schulte said Ryan Blum was at his best when the Rams needed him most.

“Defensively he was really solid, and offensively, he hit huge shots and knocked down some huge free throws,’’ he said. “He certainly didn’t play like a freshman.’’

Until it ended a 63-year state drought by breaking through to state in 2015, Glenwood had been one of the state’s lowest-achieving 3-A-sized programs. But this group of seniors has sparked the impressive turnaround.

After giving multiple interviews with media members, the team’s youngster, Ryan Blum, tried to soak in the moment.

“We were flowing out there,’’ he said. “We were going to come back. That’s what we were going to do. I can’t stop smiling after that one.’’

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