Rebounding advantage helps Glenbard West get scoreboard advantage
Senior Caden Phillips and his Glenbard West boys basketball teammates are quite familiar with the rebounding drill.
"Each day we get out the cone. (Coach Tim Hoder) shoots some shots and we go against all of our guys and body each other," Phillips said.
"That's just something that we stress defensively, five guys every time and offensively three and just knowing where your guy is. That's just a huge part of how we play."
The 6-foot-6 Phillips helped the Hilltoppers dominate the boards Friday -- and Proviso West as a result -- for a 63-43 West Suburban Silver victory in Glen Ellyn.
The Hilltoppers (14-5, 4-3) led 35-19 in rebounds -- 24-10 in the first half -- as they extended their 16-9 lead after one quarter to 32-16 by halftime and 58-28 after three quarters.
Proviso West (3-11, 0-7) had just two offensive rebounds the entire game, a missed putback in the first quarter and a missed shot rebounded by the same player in the third quarter.
"That means all five guys are crashing the boards defensively and that's what we love to see because then we can push the ball up and get some points in transition," Phillips said. "Everyone is doing their job and getting their guy and it's awesome. It's good to see."
Southern Illinois recruit Evan Taylor and Corey Williams each had 13 points for the Hilltoppers. Phillips also scored 12, followed by 9 from Carter Lindstrom and 6 on Griffin Foster's two 3-pointers.
As for rebounds, Taylor had 12 for a double-double. Phillips grabbed 8 rebounds.
"We're having a nice season. The biggest thing is we just want to keep getting better," Hoder said.
"I think we're getting better defensively in our (2-3 zone) matchup. That's something that we've played a lot more than I thought, but it's good for us. I think we're doing a nice job pushing the ball in transition."
The Hilltoppers won their third straight following a 1-3 stretch and already are just one victory from matching last season's victory total.
One major reason? Yes, rebounding.
Often led by Taylor and Phillips, the Hilltoppers have outrebounded all but two of their opponents this season.
"We chart it every game. That's one of our goals every game is to win the rebound battle," Hoder said.
"It's really a big part of our focus. The first thing we do on the first day of practice is get out the rebounding cone. That's something we take a lot of pride in and the fact that the kids are following through on it means a lot to us."
Phillips had a team-best 5 offensive rebounds, which led directly to 9 points. His putback and inside basket on consecutive possessions were part of a 10-0 run that opened a 30-13 lead in the second quarter.
"Recently we've been focusing on kind of keeping me down by the basket on offense because we're a really good 3-point shooting team," Phillips said. "That way I can get the balls that don't go in the hoop sometimes."
In the third quarter Williams was the man. The senior scored 11 points and delivered a baseball-style inbounds pass downcourt to wide-open freshman Braden Huff for a layup and 51-22 lead.
Williams collected the Hilltoppers' last 5 points of the period with a free throw, inside basket and pullup jumper that beat the buzzer and initiated a running clock.
Huff also scored all 5 of his points in the period. The first 3 came on free throws after being fouled attempting a 3.
"I just wanted to knock those down because I had zero points," Huff said. "I maybe should have dunked (off the inbounds pass), but I can't yet so I just went for the layup and got the easy points. It was a nice quarter. It was a nice quarter for the team as well."
The 6-5 Huff, younger brother of Glenbard West girls basketball standout Taylor Huff, has consistently seen action as a season-long varsity reserve and is averaging around 4 points a game.
"I've gotten in every game. It's been a lot of fun. I'm having a great time," Huff said.
Proviso West lost its eighth straight since beating Manley Dec. 18. The Panthers were led in scoring by senior Austin Murray with 11 points and junior reserve and college football recruit Brandon Smith's 10 points in just his second game this season. Smith had 16 points and 8 rebounds in his season debut.
Starting freshman Calvin Lucas also is among a roster of mostly underclassmen.
"Hopefully, next year it'll be a little bit different. (We're) very young," Proviso West coach Anthony Longstreet said.