Chairmen of the boards: Crusaders' rebounding keys victory over Fort Zumwalt North

News-DemocratJanuary 9, 2014 

— A rebounding clinic turned in by the Althoff Crusaders led to an impressive victory Thursday.

The Crusaders outrebounded Fort Zumwalt North 45-18 and defeated the Panthers 69-60 in the Coaches vs. Cancer Shootout at Scottrade Center.

Althoff collected 21 offensive rebounds, which led to 27 points.

"That's something you wish you could take credit in, but the guys were excellent," Crusaders coach Greg Leib said. "They've got a good nose for the ball.

"I tell them all the time, 'Never come to my office and say you're not getting enough shots. You want more shots? Go get a rebound. If you don't like that, I don't really care.' They've taken it to heart."

Sophomore Brendon Gooch had 23 points and 11 rebounds, freshman Jordan Goodwin had 17 points and 11 rebounds and sophomore Keenen Young had 13 points, four rebounds and five assists as Althoff improved to 9-4.

Southern Illinois University Carbondale recruit Chaz Glotta, a senior, led all scorers with 24 points for Fort Zumwalt North (4-4). Senior Blake Buls had 11 points and junior Kris McCann had 10.

"The first half, our shots weren't really falling," said the 6-foot-6 Gooch, who had five offensive rebounds that he converted into 10 points. "Coach told us to get to the glass because we had success in the first half getting to the boards. So we wanted to crash them hard in the second half to give us a chance to win this game."

The Crusaders led 28-26 at halftime, then extended their advantage to 35-28 on a rebound basket by Goodwin with 6:05 to play in the third quarter. The lead grew to 44-34 on a putback by Young with 2:02 left in the period.

Fort Zumwalt North used a 7-0 run to get within 44-42 with 7:25 remaining in the game. That's when Althoff closed the door, scoring 14 of the next 16 points to take a 58-44 lead with 4:17 left.

The highlight-reel play of the surge came from Goodwin. After missing the back end of a one-and-one, Goodwin stormed the rim, grabbed the loose ball and finished with a dunk. Goodwin, like Gooch, finished with five offensive rebounds.

Gooch and other players during the long day of basketball talked about the tough shooting background at Scottrade. But Althoff shot 48 percent (26-for-54), led by Gooch's 9-for-15 showing.

"It's a tough place to shoot in, so we just had to attack and get to the rim and make the shots we needed to get the win," Gooch said.

Althoff senior Rick Edwards played a big role, too, scoring all six of his points in the second half to go with five rebounds.

Edwards' layup made it 40-34 with 3:13 to play in the third quarter, and he scored on a putback and a short jumper on consecutive possessions to make it 50-42 with six minutes left in the game.

"We just congratulated Edwards in the locker room," Leib said. "Little things like that help us be a better ballclub. When he's able to contribute like that, it adds a different dimension. He played hard. He had some big rebounds and some hustle plays."

Glotta's 24 points came on 10-for-23 shooting as he was watched by his future coach, Barry Hinson. He was just 2-for-9 on 3-pointers as the Panthers struggled from beyond the arc at 3-for-14.

"We tried to contain him as best we could," Leib said. "We worked on a triangle-and-two, but usually when we do that, the other coach finds Larry Bird --a guy who hasn't hit 3s all year and he's got like six at the half.

"I was pleased with our defensive effort. They got free a few times just because our help defense was flat and we weren't uphill enough on them. But we battled and rebounded."

Fort Zumwalt North's top scorer, junior Zach Glotta, had nine points on 4-for-10 shooting. He entered the game averaging 20.3.

Leib agreed that the Crusaders' effort was off the charts.

"But that just kills us, because they're going to think we only need to practice once a week to come out and play games," said Leib, a reference to the disrupted practice schedule because of the recent winter storm.

"The effort was superb," he said. "Maybe having fresh legs helps a little bit coming out of that (Collinsville) tournament and getting a little time away. None of them shoveled their driveway but one, so we didn't get any core (strength) work in."

Contact reporter David Wilhelm at dwilhelm@bnd.com or 239-2665.

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