Rebels win fifth straight game

Published 10:38 pm Monday, January 3, 2011

Southland sophomore Nick Schmitz dishes the ball off against the defense of Lyle/Pacelli's Skylar Meyer, left and David Diang, right in Adams Monday. The Rebels beat the Athletics 67-22. -- Rocky Hulne/

ADAMS — It’s pretty clear the Southland boys basketball team has improved this season. How much they’ve improved, however, remains to be seen.

The Rebels (5-4 overall) wrapped up their fifth straight win by knocking off Lyle/Pacelli 67-22 in Adams Monday.

Southland forced 16 first half turnovers as they jumped out to a 40-2 lead by spreading the ball around. Six different Rebels had at least six points in the first frame.

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“Passing up a good shot for a great shot is not a bad thing and they’re starting to buy into that,” Southland head coach Jon Thalberg said. “Tomorrow night (against No. 3 ranked Caledonia) is going to be a nice test to see how much we’ve really improved against a ranked team. We’ll see just how far we’ve come. I know we’ve made strides it’s just how big the strides are.”

Most of the strides have come from Southland’s younger players. Sophomores Mike Goergen, Decker Bendtsen, Sam Klaehn and Nick Schmitz combined for 42 points in limited playing time against the winless Athletics (0-7 overall).

Lyle/Pacelli's Ryan Rust has his shot contested by Southland's Sam Noterman in Adams Monday. -- Rocky Hulne/

“We’ve been playing together for a long time and we’re getting used to playing with the seniors,” said Bendtsen, who had 13 points and six rebounds. “It feels like its all coming together now.”

Goergen, who finished with 10 points, six rebounds, four assists, and three steals, said that Southland is feeling much better now that they’ve won five in a row after starting the season with four straight losses.

“We’re getting more confident every game,” he said.

For the Athletics it was a tough night. Their first points of the night didn’t come until Colton Scherer hit a jumper to make it 16-2 with 13:16 left in the first half and they went scoreless over the next 11 minutes until Ryan Rust hit a free throw to stop a 24-0 Rebel run.

“You can tell it’s been a long break and the kids didn’t have school today. It’s hard to come back after a long break and play on a Monday,” L/P head coach Casey Anderson said. “It comes down to dedication. How bad do you want it and how aggressive are you going to be? Once again we were pretty flat.”

L/P didn’t lose too much ground in the second half, when there was running clock and the Rebels emptied their bench.

But the Athletics struggled on the boards all night as Southland held a 39-20 advantage in rebounds.

“Rebounding killed us, we do way too much standing and looking instead of going after it, we’d rather just stand and watch,” Anderson said. “A lot of changes are going to be made I think and we’ll find out come Friday who’s going to be playing and who isn’t.”

L/P 7 15 — 22

Southland 50 17 — 67

Southland scoring: Decker Bendtsten, 13; Alan May, 10; Mike Goergen, 10; Sam Klaehn, 10; Nick Schmitz, 9; Brock Bendtsen, 2; Logan Vlasaty, 2; Marcus Johnson, 2; Chris Wolffe, 1; free throws: 71 percent (17-for-24); rebounds: 39 (Decker Bendtsen, 6; Goergen, 6); turnovers: 15

L/P scoring: Ryan Rust, 6; Damian Haugen, 4; Max Brennan, 4; Colton Scherer, 4; Mike Kline, 2; Carter Guthmiller, 2; free throws: 44 percent (4-for-9); rebounds: 20 (Skylar Meyer, 4); turnovers: 25