BASKETBALL: Slow start dooms Glacier boys in opener

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Glacier’s offense found a bit of a groove, but not before it was too late.

The Wolfpack boys scored just 17 points before the half and watched its defense falter late in a season-opening, 64-48 loss to Great Falls CMR on Saturday afternoon at Glacier High School.

“We have a team that is going to take a while to find their identity and find out who they are,” Glacier head basketball coach Mark Harkins said. “We had a lot of first-game jitters. We missed a lot of shots early that I think we’re going to hit (later in the season). We saw a lot of things we have to work on.”

First on the list: finding rhythm on offense.

Harkins pointed to a combination of lack of spacing, undeveloped chemistry and missed opportunities as the reason for his team’s first-half struggles on the offensive end.

“I thought we had some nice individual efforts,” Harkins said. “I don’t think we played very well as a team. Our chemistry is not there yet.

“Our spacing wasn’t very good, and that’s the chemistry thing.

“We were really bunched. We weren’t spread out. Later on, when we spread out, I thought we got some better looks.”

It showed on the scoreboard.

After its troubles out of the gate, Glacier began to find a rhythm offensively in the third quarter before really finding its groove in the fourth.

Kody Jarvis led the Wolfpack with 14 points, 11 of which came after halftime.

“Once the game got going, Kody just said. ‘All right, I’m going to go,’” Harkins said. “And that’s the athlete we know he can be. That’s what I expect to see more of.”

Brec Rademacher, the top returning scorer from last year’s state championship team, scored nine points, and A.J. Grande chipped in seven for Glacier, which scored nearly half of its points in an explosive fourth quarter.

But when the Glacier offense picked up, CMR’s did the same.

The Rustlers entered the final period with a comfortable, 11-point lead and proceeded to add to it with a 26-point fourth quarter.

Fifteen of CMR’s 26 points in the fourth quarter came from the free-throw line, where the team made all but one of its 22 attempts.

Despite the loss, the offensive uptick in the fourth quarter provided a glimmer of hope for the Wolfpack, which will seek to maintain a similar pace for four quarters beginning with Tuesday’s out-of-conference matchup against Columbia Falls.

“We saw a little bit of deer-in-the-headlight looks tonight,” Harkins said. “We were a little tentative. A lot of guys, this was their first varsity time they’ve ever had. We didn’t shoot as strongly. We kind of shot and hoped instead of shot with confidence.

“Nobody’s pushing the panic button or anything. We didn’t play well, and they did. They played well. We’ve still got to figure out who we are and what our identity is.”

CMR 8 17 13 26 — 64

Glacier 7 10 10 21 — 48

Glacier: Caden Harkins 4, KJ Johnson 3, Brec Rademacher 9, Kody Jarvis 14, Drew Engellant 2, Alex Whitman 2, Nick Whitman 2, Bret Michaels 5, A.J. Grande 7.

CMR: Caleb Currington 12, Kyle Byrne 2, Jake Olsen 16, Garrison Rothwell 5, Kaden Walsh 3, Sam Vining 15, Russell Gagne 11.

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