United South Central senior guard Cole Stencel watches Friday just before his shot goes into the hoop in the second half. Stencel also contributed points from behind the arc Friday. – Heather Rule/Albert Lea Tribune

USC boys’ hoops bounces back

Published 12:05am Saturday, January 12, 2013

After a one-point loss the night before, a win is just what the doctor ordered for the United South Central boys’ basketball team. They defeated Medford 74-59 at home Friday.

If the Rebels were still thinking about that 57-56 home loss to Albert Lea Thursday, they certainly didn’t show it on the court.

“I was really pleased with how we kept kind of an attack mode,” said USC head coach Rob Stevermer. “We kept attacking the bucket.

“I’m really pleased at how much energy we had.”

United South Central junior guard Walker Linde scans the floor Friday in search of teammates to pass to during the first half. Linde and senior forward Colin Becher, left, both started the game against Medford. – Heather Rule/Albert Lea Tribune

The Rebels didn’t waste any time putting points on the board. Junior forward Steve Voigt scored off a rebound, drew a foul and completed the 3-point play. That was followed up quickly by senior guard Cole Stencel’s shot from behind the arc for a sudden 6-0 lead.

“I felt like right away when we came out, it was nice to get that cushion,” said sophomore guard Nate Pederson. “We needed to come back and make sure we got this win, so it was good to get it.”

The shots were falling well for Pederson; he was USC’s leading scorer Friday with 17 points. He said he felt like things were going well during the game. He had a few layups in the mix and also contributed from the free-throw line. He’s in his first year on varsity is happy to be able to play, he said.

“He’s been our first guy off the bench,” Stevermer said. “He had a real efficient game tonight. He’s got a sense of how to get open.”

Medford had an answer right away to USC’s quick start, and a three-pointer from Medford’s Isias Ramirez put his team up 7-6. But that was the only lead they would see all night. The Rebels kept the pressure on to extend their lead throughout the game.

Stevermer was pleased with the overall effort from his team, especially with the aggressive play and that they didn’t just settle for jump shots but instead drove to the basket. They kept moving the ball and attacked, he said. He also gave credit to the non-starters on the team.

“Our bench kids come in… they give us a lift,” Stevermer said.

Sophomore guard Luke Trio “played outstanding,” his coach said, and had some good passes. He also had a couple three-pointers on the night as well. His teammate Pederson said Trio was the spark that helped get things rolling.

United South Central sophomore guard Nate Pederson releases Friday a three-point try just over halfway through the second half against Medford. The shot didn't fall in for points. – Heather Rule/Albert Lea Tribune

Stevermer was also impressed with senior guard Trey Allis’ game, the way he worked hard all over the place. The Rebels weren’t afraid to grab rebounds either, with 19 as a team; Stevermer mentioned junior forward Cody Nelson as being one who rebounded well. It’s an aspect of the game that is key, Stevermer said.

“That’s an area we haven’t always done really well,” Stevermer said. “That’s something that we have to do every game.”

With the win, USC improved to 6-6 overall and 4-0 in the Gopher Conference. They’re on the road next week for conference play, at Bethlehem Academy Tuesday and Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton Friday.

United South Central 74, Medford 59

United South Central   40    34  –  74
Medford                       23     36  –  59

USC stats: Nate Pederson 17 points, 4 rebounds; Trey Allis 13 points, 3 steals; Cole Stencel 12 points, 5 rebounds; Luke Trio 10 points; Steve Voigt 8 points, 6 rebounds; Walker Linde 6 points; Colin Becher 6 points, 4 rebounds; Cody Nelson 2 points.