By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Knights keep rolling
New Glarus junior Trevor Gassman goes up for a layup against Platteville at New Glarus High School Tuesday. (Times photo: Marissa Weiher)
NEW GLARUS - Junior Zach Feller can cross one goal off the New Glarus boys basketball team's list of missions before Capitol South Conference play begins.

Feller scored a game-high 20 points to lead a balanced scoring attack in the Glarner Knights' 72-62 nonconference win over Platteville Tuesday. With the win, New Glarus, ranked No. 3 in the Division 4 Coaches Poll, improves to 8-0.

Knights junior point guard Jaden Kreklow added 15 points and drilled four 3-pointers. Both senior Cullen Brooks and junior Trevor Gassman posted double-doubles. Brooks scored 12 points and had 13 rebounds and Gassman chipped in 11 points and 12 boards. Sophomore Connor Siegenthaler added 9 points.

"It's definitely a big win for us," Feller said. "We wanted to go into conference undefeated. It gives us a lot of momentum going into conference play. Last game we got off to a slow start and we got down a lot of points and came back. We came out with an aggressive mentality. We came out with a fullcourt press tonight. We know it's a game of momentum. We just had to stick to the plan."

New Glarus opened the game with a 10-2 run. Brooks scored down low and Kreklow knocked down a 3-pointer with 14 minutes left in the first half to give the Knights a 10-2 lead. Siegenthaler had a steal and layup and Feller scored on a layup to extend the Knights' lead to 16-6 with 11:55 left in the half.

Feller hit a 3-pointer to give the Knights an 11-point lead, 24-13 with 7:17 to go in the first half. Siegenthaler came up with his second steal and layup. Gassman scored on a layup to give the Knights their biggest lead of 16 points, 29-13 with 5:51 to go in the half. The Hillmen switched to a 2-3 zone with some halfcourt trapping to keep the Knights out of the lane and closed the half on a 10-2 run to whittle New Glarus' lead down to 31-23 at the break.

Platteville senior Donovan Blevins scored the Hillmen's first 10 points of the game and was a big reason they were within striking distance at the half. Blevins finished the night with 17 points and 10 rebounds. However, Blevins battled foul trouble and played a big chunk of the second half with four fouls.

New Glarus went more than 6 minutes without a basket that spanned from the first half into the second. Brooks scored down low with 17:29 left in the second half to snap the cold spell to give the Knights a 33-23 lead.

"It's a good win against a solid Platteville team," New Glarus coach Travis Sysko said. "(Coach) Mike (Huser) has them playing really good right now. They (Platteville) definitely did a good job of keeping us out of the paint. Getting into the paint is a big part of our offense. They switched to that 2-3 zone and extended it with some trapping. I thought we were reacting to what they were doing instead of taking it at them. We talked at halftime as a team that if they were going to bring pressure at us we had to attack them."

New Glarus proved to have too many scoring weapons for the Hillmen.

"We can put five players on the court who can shoot the ball," Gassman said. "Sometimes we can get some cold spells. Once we keep shooting the ball, we can keep scoring."

Each time the Knights would extend their lead to 10 or 12 points in the second half, the Hillmen would slice it back to five or six points. The closest Platteville got was within four points after junior Isaiah Oswald drilled a 3-pointer to cut a one-time Knights' 10-point second half lead to 47-43 with 10:07 left. Gassman and Feller answered with layups to push the Knights' lead back to 10-points, 53-43 with 8:30 left. Blevins converted a 3-point play to cut the Knights' lead to 54-49 with about 6 minutes to go. Feller, moments later, responded by hitting a 3-pointer to extend the Knights' lead to 61-51.

Platteville junior Connor Riley scored down low to cut New Glarus' lead to 61-56 with 2:57 to go, but that's as close as the Hillmen would get down the stretch. Gassman scored on a layup and Feller's 3-point play gave the Knights a 66-58 lead with 1:59 remaining.

"They are a Division 3 team and it's good to beat them," Gassman said of Platteville. "We are now 8-0 going into conference. That really doesn't matter. We have to come out and play tough throughout the game."

Kreklow's ability to handle the ball and distribute it to open teammates as well as getting into the lane is a weapon every game.

"We are happy to have some different weapons on the floor," Sysko said. "Jaden is pretty calm and cool every time. The moment doesn't seem to shake him. If you lay off of him, he can step up off the dribble and knock it down. When they are playing together like that they are fun to watch."

The Knights are looking to repeat as conference champions and will begin their title defense against Waterloo Friday.

"We want to try to take it one game at a time and go 1-0 every game," Feller said. "We want to win a conference championship. That is the goal every year and then we want to make some noise in the postseason."