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BCLUW pressures Wolverines into 16-point defeat

T-R PHOTO BY ROSS THEDE - BCLUW senior Mason Yantis, left, shoots against GMG’s Adam Cox (32) during the second half of their game Saturday in Garwin. Yantis scored a career-high 17 points in a 67-51 Comet victory.

GARWIN — Mason Yantis didn’t get to complete his junior season in uniform for the BCLUW boys’ basketball team last winter after an ankle injury cut his campaign short.

On Saturday night he returned to the court where his tournament run came to an abrupt end 11 months earlier and made up for lost time.

Yantis, BCLUW’s senior center, scored a career-high 17 points to help the Comets collect a 67-51 victory over GMG in non-conference action.

Yantis went down with a severely sprained ankle during BCLUW’s Class 1A District 10 first-round victory over GMG in Garwin back on Feb. 12, 2019. Then-senior Jonny Neff tore knee ligaments in another critical injury later in that same game, and he didn’t get another chance to put on the Comet uniform.

Yantis did.

T-R PHOTO BY ROSS THEDE - GMG’s Avery Bryant (0) snares a rebound between BCLUW defenders Jack Hughes (35) and Eric Knott (45) during the first half of their game Saturday in Garwin. Bryant led GMG with 15 points in the loss.

“Jonny’s was way worse,” Yantis said. “It was definitely in my brain, but I guess God was watching over me tonight.”

Yantis scored eight of his game-high 17 points in the first quarter alone, when BCLUW (4-6) got out to a blistering start. The Comets led 29-13 after the opening period, capped by Tanner McLeland’s 3-pointer, as BCLUW’s full-court press picked apart GMG (2-8).

The host Wolverines committed 13 turnovers in the first eight minutes of the game, fell behind by 16 and eventually lost by 16.

“They punched us right in the mouth,” said GMG head coach Michael Plett. “It’s the same, scary pattern as the Waterloo Christian loss where the other team takes a huge lead in the first quarter and we essentially play even from the second quarter on.”

Both teams pumped the brakes in the second. BCLUW took the period, 7-5, and led 36-18 at the intermission. Yantis finished the first half with 13 points.

T-R PHOTO BY ROSS THEDE

“We wanted to work on the press a lot, but we’re still finding our identity,” said BCLUW first-year head coach Evan Janssen. “Defense and rebounding we know are our strong suits, and we’re obviously not very strong shooting the basketball, but I thought we did a better job of hiding that tonight.”

It was a roller coaster kind of night for the Comets, who got caught trying to find their shot from 3-point range while abandoning a post dominance they had established with Yantis and Noah Lehman off the bench. Lehman finished with six points — all on first-half layups — as the tempo of the game slowed.

BCLUW got the pace back to where it wanted it to be, scoring the first 10 points of the third quarter to break free for a 46-18 lead. Cooper Langenbau got a couple 3-point shots to fall for GMG and his eight points in the period helped the Wolverines climb back to within 23, 52-29, going into the fourth.

GMG went 8-for-12 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter to fight all the way back to within 16 against some of the Comets’ reserves.

“We’ve been in a lot of close games but that old BCLUW stuff still comes out, and we’re trying to get rid of that,” said Janssen. “The kids have all bought in to an entirely different system, but it still takes all 32 minutes. Opposing coaches have told me that my guys are playing harder than anyone they’ve played against, and it’s a testament to them.”

T-R PHOTO BY ROSS THEDE

Treye Teske, who scored his career-high 25 points in the Comets’ district win over GMG last winter, finished with 12 points while Noah Gallentine and Jesse Moore added eight points apiece.

Avery Bryant came off the bench to lead GMG with 15 points. Zach Krull came away with nine points, Langenbau scored all of his eight points in the third quarter, and Kooper Gill chipped in six points in his return to action from an injury of his own.

Abe Dieleman pitched in five points off the bench for the Wolverines, who suffered their fifth-straight loss.

“We graduated five seniors who were strong skill players,” Plett said. “That’s one area where nobody has been able to step up. We’ve got some great kids who are playing in a game they’re just not ready for.”

GMG remains at home for three more games this week, starting with Monday’s cross-conference contest against Janesville. BCLUW visits West Marshall on Tuesday for an NICL West Division clash.

T-R PHOTO BY ROSS THEDE

“We’ve got three games this week that could really make our entire season,” Janssen said, “games that are going to decide where we go from here.”

BCLUW 67, GMG 51

At Garwin

BCLUW (4-6) — Treye Teske 5 2-2 12, Noah Gallentine 2 0-0 4, Jesse Moore 4 0-0 8, Jack Hughes 0 0-0 0, Mason Yantis 8 1-1 17, Cayden McLeland 0 0-0 0, Tanner McLeland 3 0-0 8, Noah Lehman 3 0-0 6, Colton Keller 1 0-0 3, Eric Knott 2 0-0 4, Ray Callaway 1 2-4 5. TOTALS 29 5-7 67.

GMG (2-8) — Justin Savadty 0 0-0 0, Kooper Gill 3 0-0 6, Cooper Langenbau 3 0-0 8, Zach Krull 4 0-0 9, Abe Dieleman 2 1-3 5, Avery Bryant 6 3-5 15, Adam Cox 1 2-6 4, Mykell Ratliff 0 4-4 4. TOTALS 19 10-18 51.

BCLUW 29 7 16 15 — 67

GMG 13 5 9 22 — 51

3-Point Goals–BCLUW 4 (T.McLeland 2, Keller, Callaway), GMG 3 (Langenbau 2, Krull). Total Fouls–BCLUW 19, GMG 14. Fouled Out–none.