Published Saturday, December 8, 2012 at 12:01 am / Updated at 3:12 am
Heartland Lutheran boys bounce back

Heartland Lutheran bounced back in style Saturday night as the Red Hornets outdistanced Nebraska Christian 62-35.

One night after falling to Humphrey St. Francis by 20, Heartland Lutheran evened its record at 2-2 with a combination of halfcourt and transition offense and a rebounding effort that nearly doubled up the Eagles 44-23.

“This was a nice win for us, especially after last night,” Red Hornet coach Lloyd Wagnitz said. “We took kind of a beating, but we fought back and proved we could play. I’m really proud that we came out and played with confidence.”

Heartland Lutheran got a huge effort from freshman Devin Hueftle, who led the team with 17 points and 12 rebounds, converting many of the latter into second-chance points. Nebraska Christian coach Mark Leonard said his team struggled to consistently limit all facets of the Red Hornet attack.

“We really stressed to the kids that they need to play complete defensive possessions,” he said. “When we didn’t block out, they got inside and the second shots killed us, especially from the Hueftle kid. And when we were out of our defensive rotation, they did a good job outside with their threes.”

For their part, the Eagles banked heavily on the outside shooting of Neil Lin and the unexpected inside game of Derek Rose, who was shifted into the paint after the Heartland Lutheran defensive pressure made it very difficult for Lin to get clean looks from outside. After its initial success, the Eagles struggled from outside for much of the game as they finished three of 20 shots from outside the arc.

“We wanted to get Derek down in the lane,” Leonard said. “We wanted to take advantage of the mismatch when he had (Jon) Simonson guarding him. When we got the ball to him he did a great job, but they countered by putting (Isac) Splattstoesser on him - that was a good move on their part.”

The Red Hornets appeared to be establishing themselves, holding an 18-9 lead after the first period, but Lin opened the second quarter with back-to-back three-pointers. A change in defensive assignments altered the landscape for Nebraska Christian, and Lin was held to just one bucket for the remainder of the game.

Heartland Lutheran kept up the pressure on both ends of the floor, pushing the lead to 20 late in the third after a three by Isac Splattstoesser, and increased its advantage as the fourth quarter unfolded.

Hueftle led a balanced Red Hornet atttack that saw Garrett Suchanek add 13 and Splattstoesser 12. Rose topped the Eagles with 16, while Lin finished with 13.

Heartland Lutheran 62, Nebraska Christian 35

Nebraska Christian (1-3)

Bui 0-2 0-0 0, Lin 5-19 1-5 13, De. Rose 6-18 3-4 16, Faeh 1-2 0-2 2, Fread 2-4 0-0 4, Di. Rose 0-1 0-0 0, Boutin 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 14-47 4-11 35.

Heartland Lutheran (2-2)

Obermeier 0-1 1-2 1, Stinson 1-6 0-0 2, Warneke 1-1 0-0 2, Messersmith 3-3 0-0 6, Dreher 2-2 0-0 4, Simonson 2-6 0-0 5, Zapata 0-2 0-0 0, Hueftle 8-13 1-2 17, Suchanek 4-10 2-2 13, Splattstoesser 4-10 2-2 12. Totals 25-53 5-6 62.

Nebraska Christian.......................9 12 6 8—35

Heartland Lutheran......................18 16 13 15—62

3-point goals — NC 3-20 (Bui 0-2, Lin 2-10, De. Rose 1-7, Fread 0-1), HL 6-24 (Stinson 0-4, Simonson 1-4, Hueftle 0-1, Suchanek 3-9, Splattstoesser 2-6). Rebounds — NC 23 (Fread 7, Lin 5), HL 44 (Hueftle 12, Messersmith 7, Simonson 6). Assists — NC 5 (Fread 2), HL 15 (Simonson 6, Splattstoesser 4). Turnovers — NC 13, HL 16. Personal Fouls — NC 10, HL 8. Fouled Out — None. Technical Fouls — None.

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