In charge of running ‘The System’ by Mark Pawlak
February 18, 2011
Thompson at the controls as Rebels surge into regionals REINBECK - It was a little rough to start, but now Gladbrook-Reinbeck has found smooth sailing. The Rebels have won eight in a row, including Monday’s national record setting 122-118 game against West Marshall, going into today’s regional girls’ basketball opener against those same Trojans. Gladbrook-Reinbeck (14-7) is in the first year of running ‘The System’ and a lot is asked of everyone on the court, especially the guards. The Rebels’ backcourt has been up to the challenge, especially junior point guard Paige Thompson. Thompson is tied for the Class 2A lead and tied for fourth overall in the state with 136 assists for the season. “My favorite part is passing so I’ve always worked on that with my dad. That’s helped a lot,” Thompson said. “My teammates are always able to get open and that helps make it easier on me too.” Thompson is averaging 11.3 points, 6.5 assists and 2.7 rebounds per game. “The point guard is very important to what we want to do,” said Gladbrook-Reinbeck head coach Bruce Bailey. “Paige and Emily Snider, we’ve got to get it to them and they push it up the court and find the open shooter so we can get the shot up.” “If things break down, they are good at penetrating and can get to the basket. When they can do that, it opens up our shooters on the wings,” he added. Snider is second on the team with 75 assists - 3.6 per game - and there are times when both Thompson and Snider are on the court. The two also have a combined 78 steals (Snider 41 and Thompson 37). ‘The System’ is used in Iowa by the Grinnell College men’s basketball team and previously was used in girls’ basketball by Dunkerton and the Raiders advanced to the state tournament. The style of play can be described as an all-out, all-the-time way of playing. Hockey-like line changes are how substitutions are made in intervals of often twice every minute of play. The ball is brought up court as fast as possible on offense and many 3-point attempts are fired at the basket. Defensively, it’s fullcourt pressure the entire game with traps, traps and then more traps. Gladbrook-Reinbeck went 3-17 pre-System in 2009-10. This season the Rebels started the year 1-4. “At the beginning of the year it was very tough and we were surprised about it,” Thompson said. “But then it got easier as the year went on and we’ve got a lot of work done in practice.” G-R found itself 6-7 before everything started to click and the points have come in bunches during their winning streak. “The first four, five, six games we couldn’t get out of the 60s,” Bailey said. “Then all of the sudden in the middle of December it just started to work. We started to explode, getting a little better at it, then a little bit more and more.” The Rebels have scored 100 points in three straight games and 95.9 points per game over their last eight contests. “We’ve really got used to it now,” said Gladbrook-Reinbeck senior guard Lauren Bengen, the team’s leading scorer at 18.5 points per game. “Everyone’s getting the flow for it and it’s working pretty good for us.” The lone ‘low’ scoring game of the last eight for the Rebels was a 70-60 win over North Tama. “It’s difficult to slow it down against them. A team that’s going to say ‘We’re going to hold it, we’re going to run four corners,’ you better have some very good ballhandlers,” said North Tama head coach Irv Laube. “They are going to be all over you with their defensive pressure. I think that’s why you see a lot of teams play with them and the scores go up.” “What we tried to stress to our girls was it’s seven seconds of defense. That’s all you got to play, seven seconds of defense.” Every game Gladbrook-Reinbeck has a goal list of 80 shots attempted, 30 3-point shots fired up, rebounding 33 percent of its missed shots, forcing 25 turnovers and an attempted shot differential of plus-20. “When we reach those five goals, we’re in the ballgame or we win in,” Bailey said. They did that Monday against West Marshall in what was a true System game, as Bailey described it. The Rebels won 122-118 in double overtime. The 240 combined points set a national record for highest scoring game. West Marshall has had an outstanding year and downed the Rebels in the first meeting of the season, 70-54, on Dec. 3. The Trojans are 15-5 for the year with four of their losses coming in overtime. They have a strong backcourt with McKenzie Shipley (10.7 ppg), Molly Underwood (10.2 ppg) and McKenna Hotopp (9 ppg) to contend with what Gladbrook-Reinbeck wants to do. Forward Alexa Hotopp is West Marshall’s leading scorer at 12.1 points per game. Junior forward Hailee Halverson finished with 36 points in Monday’s game.
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