Rebels board past Mustangs

EAST CHAIN – United South Central uses solid boxouts, proper positioning and hustle to compensate for its undersized post players.

Despite not having a starter taller than 6-feet-2, the Rebels combined the above three factors into a 2-to-1 rebounding edge over the Granada-Huntley-East Chain Mustangs on Monday.

Steve Voigt pulled down a game-high 11 boards to complement his game-leading 15-point performance to guide USC to a 60-42 nonconference basketball victory over GHEC at the East Chain School’s gymnasium.

“We (coaching staff) emphasized that aspect (rebounding) during our shoot-around earlier today, and then again during our pregame talk,” said Rebel head coach Robert Stevermer, whose lineup outboarded the Mustangs by a 48-24 margin overall, including a staggering 23-6 edge on the offensive glass. “We knew coming into this game that rebounding is one of their (Mustangs’) strengths, so we knew we had to do a better job on the boards tonight.”

USC’s tenacity on pounding the boards also led to 31 trips to the charity stripe, with the Rebels sinking 17. GHEC shot 77 percent from the free throw line, but only made it to the line 13 times – hitting 10 on the game.

“We came out flat to start the game, and we can’t do that and expect to come back every time,” said Mustang head coach Scott Chirpich. “We usually outrebound our opponents, but that wasn’t the case tonight.”

After Konnor Kristenson’s low-post spin move and ensuing basket off of Jared Green’s inbound pass gave GHEC its only lead of the game at 12-11, Voigt and USC reeled off eight straight points to build a lead they would not relinquish.

Voigt worked the offensive boards and sank a solo free throw before teammate Cole Stencel drove the lane for a runner. Walker Linde added a solo charity toss before spotting Stencel for a 3-pointer from the top of the key.

Linde later added one free throw for a 19-14 lead before GHEC guard Dylan Petrowiak split defenders in traffic to hit a runner to interrupt the Rebels’ run.

Linde later converted a backcourt steal into a traditional 3-point play with only 29 seconds remaining before halftime, but Trent Stensland countered for the Mustangs by spotting Derek Sloneker for a low-post lay-in at the 3-second mark.

Ahead 30-20 at intermission, the 5-11 Voigt single-handedly accounted for a 5-0 run to open the second half for USC.

Logan Pytleski and Kristenson later hit low-post baskets to sandwich Stencel’s trifecta to keep GHEC within striking distance at 38-25.

Petrowiak then hit a pair of cutters in traffic to bookend Voigt’s baseline leaner to inch the Mustangs within 12, but the Rebels countered with an ensuing 9-0 surge to put the game out of reach at 50-29.

Nate Pederson converted an alley-oop pass from Stencel for a baseline lay-in, Colin Becher converted Voigt’s precision assist, while Stencel and Linde each tossed in two free throws to create the 21-point lead with 5:32 remaining.

Petrowiak scored 10 points and distributed three assists for the Mustangs, Pytleski collected eight points and five boards, while Kristenson netted seven points, six rebounds and three steals.

Stencel produced 12 points, five assists, six rebounds and four steals for the Rebels, while Luke Trio delivered eight points.

Granada-Huntley-East Chain (6-14) travels to Northrop on Thursday to face Truman/Martin Luther, while United South Central (15-9) plays host to Triton on Thursday in Wells.