Not a flashy thing, but rebounding can dictate a game

  • Palatine's Kayla Miotk grabs a rebound against Fremd's Sam Prigge in a girls basketball game at Palatine High School Tuesday night.

    Palatine's Kayla Miotk grabs a rebound against Fremd's Sam Prigge in a girls basketball game at Palatine High School Tuesday night. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Maine West's Jaclyn Riedl shoots against Maine South in the championship game of the Komaromy Holiday Classic at Dundee-Crown last season. Riedl is one of the leaders for the Warriors this season.

    Maine West's Jaclyn Riedl shoots against Maine South in the championship game of the Komaromy Holiday Classic at Dundee-Crown last season. Riedl is one of the leaders for the Warriors this season. Daily Herald File photo

By Mike Miazga
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 2/11/2021 6:08 AM

Rebounding is not one of the most glamorous aspects of basketball.

But when done correctly, it certainly makes a difference. Just ask Palatine girls basketball coach Mark Johnson.


Rebounding played a key role in the Pirates' recent 39-30 win over Conant in Mid-Suburban West play. Palatine outrebounded the Cougars 44-23 in the contest. "Our team had a fantastic rebounding night in our first game," the coach said, "and while we may not have the most talented squad, we have a hardworking squad that is willing to make little sacrifices for the greater good."

Senior Kayla Miotk, a 6-foot-1 senior center, was at the forefront of the rebounding brigade, hauling in 20 rebounds, including 9 on the offensive end.

"It was because of hard work and being able to jump higher than the other girls and getting better position," said Miotk when asked the key ingredients to a 20-board night. "It's a good feeling because you know that hard work in practice paid off. It's a really good feeling when I rebound and am able to pass to another teammate and get it back on our side."

Of course, 9 offensive rebounds means more scoring opportunities. "Getting an offensive rebound is being able to get into position and getting into a good place and getting people out of the way and knowing the way the ball goes from the other side," explained Miotk, who would like to play the sport at the next level, and is looking to study premed or dentistry with the goal of becoming either an anesthesiologist or orthodontist.

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Johnson also had early high praise for 5-11 junior point guard Madi Stark. "Madi and Kayla have both stepped up for us big-time so far," said Johnson, who added Stark is on the verge of notching school records for career steals and assists. "They are our verbal leaders and also two of our hardest workers day in and day out. They totally lead by example."

Additionally, Johnson has been thrilled with the team's approach to the swift return from the pandemic-induced hiatus. "Our girls have been taking extra steps to get in shape, to take care of themselves and to also kind of bubble themselves to a certain degree. I think that having this shortened season kind of put things in perspective for how fragile life can be so we need to take care of it, embrace it and not live with any regrets."

Prospect update:

Plenty of positives came out of Prospect's 61-43 win over Elk Grove. Andie Will led the way with 17 points, 5 steals and 3 assists, while Eliot Dojutrek had 11 points and 6 rebounds. Summer Srodulski had 8 points, 11 rebounds and 2 blocks. Coach Matt Weber calls Dojutrek a leader on and off the court. "Eliot makes sure everyone is doing the right thing," he said. Will is the team's point guard on offense, "she leads the pace," Weber said, and is "Knight" on defense, "which sets the tone," he added. "Defensively, we are doing a great job of communicating and helping out our teammates. Offensively, we are all on the same page and believe in each other's decisions."

Barrington update:

Highlights from Barrington's 53-33 win over Schaumburg: Sophomore Sophie Swanson had 21 points in 18 minutes; junior Laura Mahlum had 11 points and 6 rebounds; Freshman Molly O'Riordan had 13 points and 5 rebounds; Freshman Gwen Adler had 16 rebounds; Junior Gracie Stagnito had 8 steals and 4 assists, while junior Allison Funk had 4 steals. "They are looking to pick up where we left off last season and I love to see them hungry like that," Fillies coach Babbi Barreiro said. "We have a really nice mix of experience back with some new blood, which will give us a different look this season."


Buffalo Grove update:

While the Bison lost in overtime to Rolling Meadows (73-71), coach Martha Kelly isn't complaining. "We scored 71 points in the first game, can't complain about that," she confirmed.

Junior Kim Stuercke hit for 25 points and 8 rebounds, while shooting 7-for-9 from the 3-point line. "Kim has spent a lot of extra time working on her shooting and it has paid off," Kelly said. Freshman Hanna Glana had 20 points in her first varsity game. BG, Kelly noted, overcame three big deficits in that game, including chasing 15 in the first quarter, to tie the game with two seconds left in regulation.

Rolling Meadows update:

The Mustangs made it 2-0 on the season with a recent 61-41 win over Elk Grove. Emily Galvan had 18 points and Madi Niedbala added 11 to lead the way for Meadows. Galvan had a career-high 32 points in the Mustangs' season opener. "Emily worked tirelessly in the offseason and had a great night," Meadows coach Ryan Kirkorsky said. Six-foot-3 freshman Roisin Grandberry had 8 points and 12 rebounds in her varsity debut. "Roisin has unlimited potential," the coach said.

Maine West update:

The Warriors dropped their opener, 54-50 to Evanston. West coach Kim deMarigny lauded the efforts of Jaclyn Riedl, Bri Hernandez and Jane Rothweiler. "All three had to step into leadership roles immediately after the graduation of our 2020 seniors," she said.

Maine South update:

The Hawks, coach Jeff Hamann explained, are on pause due to a pair of positive COVID-19 cases. Games against Loyola, Deerfield and Vernon Hills were postponed and the status of this weekend's tilt with Glenbrook North, as of Wednesday, remains unknown.

Leyden update:

Eagles coach Stephanie Kuzmanic has high hopes this season for junior point guard Jocelyn Muenster. "She has improved tremendously since last season," Kuzmanic said. "Opportunities have been extremely limited the past year, yet she has found a way to get herself in the gym on a regular basis. She is one of the most passionate and dedicated players I have coached in a while."

Wheeling update:

Highlights from Wheeling's recent game with Hersey included the play of junior Sara Aranda and freshman Maya Huelsman. "I have been happy with Sara adding some nice offense and Maya being aggressive on both ends of the court," Wheeling coach Beth Christell said. "I am most proud of our girls' resilience. With small numbers, we still are showing up, working to improve on a daily basis and eager to make some positive changes for our program and our future."

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