Rensch goes after rebound

Hutchinson basketball players Sam Starke and Sam Rensch dive after a rebound on the ground with a Sauk Rapids-Rice player Saturday. Rensch set a new school record with 650 rebounds, beating the old record of 649 set by Russell Corrigan.

Hutchinson boys basketball player Sam Rensch eclipsed another milestone this past weekend, pulling down his 650th career rebound. That broke the previous school record of 649 rebounds set by Russell Corrigan just two years ago.

“This is a pretty big deal after crossing the 1,000-point mark and beating Russell (Corrigan),” Rensch said about the record. “Russell was a great player for Hutch, and this proves I’m up there ranking with him. This is about hustle too, rebounds are about hustle.”

“I’m very happy for Sam, because that rebound record is a big deal, and it’s something he’s been shooting for for years,” head coach Mike McGraw said.

While Rensch and McGraw were happy about the accomplishment, the mood Saturday was glum following a 65-56 loss to Sauk Rapids-Rice.

Hutchinson had kept it a close game for most of the afternoon. The Tigers only trailed by three points at halftime and even led 46-42 with about 8:30 remaining in the second half. But the Storm surged ahead in the final quarter of the game, finishing on a 23-10 scoring run to snatch victory away from Hutch.

McGraw blamed the loss on the team getting away from its plan of attack, saying the Tigers played into their opponents’ hands and that the Storm “did an excellent job of making our boys uncomfortable.”

“The middle of the floor was wide open, and we decided to settle for outside shots,” he said. “We were trying to make sure we had a post touch and we weren’t getting that and taking it. In the offense we were running, we wanted ball reversal so we could get a seal on the inside. … That’s the weakness of any zone, you make a move and you make a move with passes, and we did not do it.”

It’s a frustrating loss, especially for a team with high expectations this year. The Tigers were off to a 7-3 start, their best in several years, before the loss to Sauk Rapids. It was also frustrating defensively because the Tigers gave up the most points to an opponent so far this year. Through the first 10 games, they had been averaging 56.1 points allowed, the fourth best in Class 3A, McGraw said.

“We’ve been stressing defense so much this year, and we gave up shots and possessions that we normally wouldn’t,” he said. “We didn’t play our style of defense.”

Despite the disappointing loss, the Tigers know they can’t let this game derail what they started this season. With a little more than half of the season to play, including Wright County Conference East games coming up, the Tigers have big goals yet within reach. They’re hoping to use Saturday’s game as a learning moment.

“This is definitely going to motivate us,” Rensch said. “We know we are easily an 11-0 team right now, we could be there. Practice is not going to be easy after this loss. Our coaches are going to improve us and make us better.”

“Like I told the boys in the locker room,” McGraw said, “we’ve just got to learn from this. If we don’t learn from it, we’re not going to get better, it’s that simple. And if we want to meet the goals that we want to meet, we need to learn and take accountability.”