Colby knocks off Gilman for second win
The Colby Hornets defeated Gilman at home on Thursday, sinking the Pirates 61-49 for their second conference victory of the season.
Colby was hoping to move above .500 for the first time this season with a win against Greenwood on Tuesday night, but the Indians crawled across the finish line for a 58-55 victory over Colby.
Victories never come easy in the Cloverbelt, and the match went down to the wire between Colby and Gilman. Gilman had the early hot hand making their first three shots, while Colby was cold, and the Hornets were suddenly down 8-0.
“Throughout the first half that was our issue, missing easy lay ups and missing free throws,” head coach Jimmy Flink said.
Colby found its offense and defense in the final ten minutes of the first half, and overcame the early deficit to go into halftime with the score knotted at 27-27. Colby went into the second half looking to use their size in the paint.
“In the second half we kept feeding the post, and Harley and Connor were able to finish,” Flink said.
The Hornets weren’t just aggressive in the post, but also on the glass, chasing down loose balls and rebounds for that led tobaskets. Isaac Karl, Gavino Lopez and Mason Schmutzler got in on the action on the second half and Colby began to wear out the Pirates..
Colby had two big time performances from senior Harley Schmelzer and Richard Streveler, who finished in double digits with 25 and 13 points. Flink had high praise for Streveler and his presence on the floor.
“He has worked really hard, and continues to improve. He plays with confidence on the court, and is rare to see out of a sophomore,” Flink said.
“There isn’t any nerves, or at least he doesn’t show it. He is a good outside threat, and finds ways to get open on the floor . . . and he was able to get some key steals down the stretch.”
Streveler and Karl hit several free throws down the stretch to pad their lead, but free throws are still a thorn in Colby’s side.
“Between the Athens and Gilman games . . . we struggled hitting free throws and missed some easy baskets,” Flink said. “Against Gilman, we were able to fix the easy baskets and down the stretch we were able to hit free throws.”
Jeske added eight points for the Hornets, followed by Karl with seven points. Noah Robida had four points, Roman Schmitt scored three and Lopez finished with one point.
Thursday’s win was Colby’s second in three matches, and second straight conference victory. “Overall, we are improving nicely and think the players are getting used of the speed of the varsity level.” Flink said.
The Hornets were back in action on Tuesday night, hosting the Greenwood Indians in another conference battle.
Colby was hoping to keep up their winning ways, but the Indians’ size underneath allowed them to alter the Hornets’ shots in the paint and the Hornets had trouble hitting from three and at the free throw line in the first half.
In the second half Greenwood took a 44-34 point lead with 8:14 to play, but the Hornets came storming back to make it a single possession game with some coldblooded clutch threes from Richard Streveler and Noah Robida and a put-back from Connor Jeske that made it 47-47 with 3:38 to play.
Greenwood regained the lead only to see Roman Schmitt nail a three to give Colby a 50-49 advantage. But Colby could not hold on. Greenwood drove to the basket and finished at the rim several times to go up 55-50 with 90 seconds remaining. A put-back from Jeske made it 52-55, but Greenwood stalled, forcing Colby to foul, and the Indians made their free throws.
A Robida three with under 30 seconds made it a 55-56 game, but Greenwood made their free throws down the stretch to escape with the win. Colby was led by Schmitt with 17 points, Streveler with 11 and Jeske with nine. Colby’s next game is at Loyal on Friday, Dec. 20.