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One in win column for boys' basketball

It’s an age-old adage: winning ugly is better than losing ugly.
While the Glencoe-Silver Lake boys’ basketball team’s season-opening defeat of visiting St. Peter on Friday, Dec. 1, was far from pretty, the overhauled Panthers did display a high degree of tenacity in earning a 59-53 victory.
“It was not a thing of beauty, but it is always better to win than to lose,” coach Robb DeCorsey said. “We can still learn a lot from that game while not feeling bad about a loss.”
Forward Kyle Christensen got GSL on the board with the team’s first basket in its new gymnasium just under a minute into the game, but St. Peter led for the majority of the first half.
Forward Gage Alsleben gave the Panthers a brief 25-23 lead with a basket and free throw with 75 seconds to play in the first half. However, the Saints took a 29-27 edge into the break following a three-pointer in the final second of play.
A first half that was marred by a multitude of fouls and traveling calls on both sides of the ball continued into the second frame. The contest remained close as GSL struggled mightily at the free throw line; the hosts made 13-of-23 shots from the charity stripe in the first half and sank just 23-of-46 overall free throws on the night.
“We made just 50 percent of our free throws,” DeCorsey said. “We need to do better than that.”
While the coach bemoaned his team’s lack of shooting prowess, he did compliment his player’s fighting spirit.
“The good thing is that we were attacking and not just sitting back,” he said. “We were very aggressive.”
Despite GSL’s struggles with foul shots, the Panthers did rally from the free throw line to put the game away late.
Christensen put the hosts up for good at 53-50 on the strength of four consecutive free throws with just over two minutes to play before fouling out himself.
GSL’s last 10 points all came from the free throw line, with three conversions coming from both Alsleben and guard Dane Schwirtz, as the Panthers held off the Saints en route to a six-point win.
“We were able to fight through and make some good things happen,” DeCorsey said. “But we were fortunate to be playing a team that also lost a big chunk of what they had last season.”
Schwirtz led the Panthers with 19 points, with Alsleben and fellow forward Gabe Roepke recording 11 and 10 points, respectively.
DeCorsey also complimented the play of forward Austin Barrett, as well as guards Alexis Sanchez and Zach Mohr.
“Alex had a really good game and gave us a defensive spark and Austin brought some good energy,” the coach said. “Zach was a game changer; he scrapped and really put a lot of pressure on the other team. That’s exactly what he needs to do every game.”
GSL travels to Tri-City United on Thursday, with Hutchinson coming to town for a Friday night tipoff at 7 p.m.
“Both Hutch and TCU have new coaches,” DeCorsey said. “We’re going to see some new things from both teams.”
The coach said while the Panthers play one game at a time, he is thinking about what a pair of wins this week would mean to the team.
“Our guys are working to be 3-0 at the end of this week – that would surprise some people,” he said. “It sure would give us a boost going into conference play, which will be a huge test every night.”